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 September Clean (11-27 September).
Litter presents a serious safety risk and besides it being unsightly, it’s also a risk to wildlife and the environment.
Around 200,000 bags of litter are collected from the motorway network every year, and that is why Highways England is taking part in Keep Britain Tidy’s campaign to help encourage drivers to keep the country clean. Last year 20,000 bags were collected from the network during the Great British Spring Clean and in the last five months alone (April-August) Highways England contractors cleared 28,803 bags of litter in the South East.
Highways England’s head of customer and operational requirements, Freda Rashdi, said: ‘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 and 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 be able to support the Great British September Clean arranging extra litter picks to coincide with the campaign and by urging people to take their litter home.’
The Great British September Clean campaign takes place between 11-27 September, however Highways England picks litter throughout the year.
Deputy Chief Executive at Keep Britain Tidy, Richard McIlwain, said: ‘Rubbish, dangerously thrown from vehicles and left to rot on our roads, is a national disgrace. This degrading litter isn’t just unsightly it damages wildlife which has taken refuge along these valuable wildlife corridors that are currently punctuated by chucked food and drink packaging and millions of flicked cigarette butts. That’s why we welcome Highways England getting involved in this year’s Great British September Clean and see this as an important step in tackling arguably one of Britain’s worst forms of littering.
‘Their work clearing up the mess left by mindless road-users is costly, puts workers lives at risk and remains a never-ending task. That’s why we want to use this campaign as a springboard to a longer-term partnership that will increase campaigning to raise awareness that stops people tossing litter from vehicles once and for all.’
For more information on the Great British September Clean visit www.keepbritaintidy.org/get-involved/support-our-campaigns/great-british-spring-clean.
Image: Before and after a litter pick during last year’s 2019 Great British Spring Clean along the M1 (southbound junction 35 to 34)