Highways England is calling on drivers to join them in doing their bit to reduce litter levels on the nation’s motorways as part of the Great British Spring Clean (28 May-13 June).
Litter presents a serious safety risk and besides being unsightly, it’s also a risk to wildlife and the environment. So, Highways England has joined Keep Britain Tidy’s Million Mile Mission to help clear litter from the roads.
Highways England litter picks somewhere on its network almost every day. It’s taking part in Keep Britain Tidy’s campaign, helping by keeping England’s motorways safe and well-maintained while also encouraging drivers to take their litter home. Last year the company collected 12,000 bags of litter during the Great British Spring Clean.
Highways England’s Head of Customer and Operational Requirements, Freda Rashdi, said:
“We’re urging road users to save litter for the bin. The simple fact is that if litter wasn’t dropped in the first place it wouldn’t need to be picked up. Litter is not only unsightly and a risk to wildlife and the environment, but it also puts our workers at risk collecting it. It diverts time and money that could be better spent on improving the network.
“Litter is an important national issue and we’re pleased to join with Keep Britain Tidy in urging people to take their litter home and help make a difference.”
In the run up to the campaign Highways England has already been busy working with local authorities and litter groups.
In the South East, Highways England worked with Brighton and Hove and Adur and Worthing councils for a litter pick on the A27 at Southwick. Over 138 bags were collected. And this month a litter pick will be taking place off the A31 at Avons Heath Country Park. near Ringwood, Dorset.
In the Midlands, more than 70 bags of rubbish, as well as a mattress and a 1,000-litre oil drum, were collected from the A38 in Staffordshire when Highways England, Kier and East Staffordshire District Council took advantage of the road being closed for some utility works.
Earlier this year Highways England worked closely with North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire Councils to address an ongoing problem with excessive littering in 23 lay-bys on the A180, many of which are frequently used by HGVs travelling to and from the Immingham & Grimsby ports. Funding was secured to install anti-littering signs and carry out extensive vegetation clearance and clear fly-tipping.
This year a number of Highways England colleagues will again ‘be part of the pick’ by taking part in volunteer litter picks in their local communities, including Corporate Customer Engagement Programme Manager, Clare Ball.
Clare said: “It’s great to be a part of something to be proud of, making a difference in the environment around you for you and others to enjoy. I got my eight-year-old daughter, Grace, involved and she loved it and has been out litter picking several times since as it made her feel good through doing good.
“Get involved. You get out in the fresh air, a bit of exercise, cleaning up where you live and setting a good example to others.”
Allison Ogden-Newton, CEO of Keep Britain Tidy said: “It is great that Highways England support the Great British Spring Clean by doing dedicated, deep cleans of problem areas.
“But our message to the public is clear – please do not be tempted to litter pick on motorways; Highways England will do this as it is extremely dangerous but equally to everyone, please, please, please do not throw anything from your car. To do so is putting wildlife and other people’s lives at risk”.
The Great British Spring Clean campaign takes place between 28 May and 13 June, however Highways England picks litter throughout the year. Highways England is responsible for collecting litter on motorways and a very small number of A roads. Responsibility lies with local authorities on all other roads.
For more information on the Great British Spring Clean visit: https://www.keepbritaintidy.org/get-involved/support-our-campaigns/great-british-spring-clean
Photo: Clare Ball and her daughter volunteered to litter pick in their community as part of last year’s Great British Spring Clean