Highways Agency regional director Alan Shepherd says that, while litter on the network is a regular bugbear among people calling or writing to the Agency, it is doing all it can to clear littered or fly-tipped rubbish from verges, laybys and roundabouts along the strategic roads network.
Mr Shepherd’s comments came after the Agency’s latest litter ‘blitz’ last weekend (Friday and Saturday 20 and 21 June) when contractors removed 55 black sacks of litter and other rubbish from around the M58 and M6 interchange at Orrell, including the A577 link road for Wigan.
We do get a lot of correspondence about this issue and we particularly appreciate how the local sense of civic pride can be affected by the behaviour of a minority in the community who persist in discarding litter inappropriately.
Obviously we are obliged to work within our resources and have to strike a balance between spending money on litter collection and priorities such as maintenance and repairs to keep the roads safe. Having said that, we do comply with the Government’s code of practice on litter and refuse and the 1990 Environmental Protection Act and carry out general daily and specific monthly inspections of the road network in which the extent of littering and fly-tipping is assessed and we can plan litter clearance accordingly.
Highways Agency contractors are responsible for collecting litter from the region’s motorways while – with the exception of the A56 between the M65 and M66 in Lancashire - local councils are responsible for collecting litter on the Agency’s A roads in the North West.
Mr Shepherd said:
Litter clearance can be hazardous for our road workers and litter can cause a safety problem for those using the road. If people didn’t drop litter in the first place, it wouldn’t have to be picked up.
The time and money spent on clearing litter could be spent on other priorities such as road maintenance and safety improvements - although I can assure road users and people living around our motorways and major A roads that we are working hard to do our bit as well as regularly assessing if we can do any more.
The Agency recently published its litter strategy and every year – with the support of Keep Britain Tidy - runs its Bag It Bin It campaign to get people to take their litter home with them and dispose of it properly.
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000
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