Press release

Litter doubles on Yorkshire’s motorways

The amount of litter being dropped on Yorkshire’s motorways has almost doubled in the past year, according to new figures.

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M18 litter picking with vacuum
Litter picking on the M18

Highways England has collected 10,193 bags of litter so far this year from the region’s roads in comparison to 8,895 for the whole of 2014. That works out at the equivalent of 42 bags each day in 2015, compared to 24 bags each day in 2014.

Litter on the motorway

Some of the litter collected includes bed frames, mattresses, oil drums, tyres, bottles filled with urine and bags of human faeces.

Highways England is now urging motorists to help tackle the problem by bagging and binning their rubbish.

Litter thrown onto the road can cause a safety hazard to other vehicles, while the task of clearing roadside rubbish puts workers at risk. It can cost around £40 to collect each bag of rubbish from a motorway, roughly what it costs to fix a pothole.

Highways England’s Roger Wantling said:

Litter thrown from moving vehicles can cause accidents as well as blocking drains and creating a threat to wildlife. It also puts the safety of workers collecting it at risk of being struck by passing vehicles.

We are committed to maintaining a high level of service for our road users and neighbouring communities. By keeping our roads free of litter we can make for a safer and more pleasant environment for everyone.

We spend millions of pounds on collecting litter from England’s motorways every year – money we’d much rather spend on maintaining and improving the network. We’re therefore urging drivers to keep a rubbish bag in their vehicle so we can get on with the job of upgrading the motorways. Stop roadside litter – Bag It. Bin It.

The amount of litter collected so far this year does not include the bags of rubbish collected by local councils who are responsible for picking up litter on local and A roads.

Highways England supports councils by letting them know if roadworks are planned, or by putting out cones and barriers so litter can be collected safely.

General enquiries

Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.

Media enquiries

Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.

Published 10 September 2015