National Highways is urging road users to help slash litter levels on roads in the South East of England by saving litter for the bin, after 8,215 bags of litter were collected from motorways and major roads in Surrey, Kent and around the M25 this year so far.
The government-owned company has once again joined Keep Britain Tidy’s national litter-picking effort in a push to clear rubbish from the roads.
Litter takes a devastating toll on the environment and it’s also a serious safety risk on roads. Road verges and barriers form corridors where litter and debris build up at an alarming rate, creating a hazardous environment for road users, wildlife and the maintenance crews who clean it up.
Matthew Salt, National Highways, service manager in the South East, said: ‘We’ve taken up Keep Britain Tidy’s ‘Big Bag Challenge’ and pledged to pick at least 8,000 bags of litter for this year’s Great British Spring Clean. It’s our seventh year joining this vital campaign, and we’ve collected more than 60,000 bags of litter in support.
‘Our priority is to keep our roads safe and well maintained, and litter is a huge issue that we’re tackling daily. We value Keep Britain Tidy’s commitment to eliminating litter, as well as their partnership in our efforts to keep litter off our roads.
‘The simple fact is that if litter wasn’t dropped in the first place it wouldn’t need to be picked up. So, this is an opportunity to remind people that they too can make a difference simply by saving litter for the bin.’
National Highways itself is responsible for collecting litter from England’s motorways and a small number of A-roads.
In the South East, Connect Plus Services, who are responsible for operating and maintaining the M25 network on behalf of National Highways, organised three litter picking events around their communities from 29-31 March. They will also be educating the public on the impacts of littering on the network.
During these litter picks, over 26 bags of litter were collected around Junction 2 of the M25 near Dartford, a further 18 bags of litter around Junction 9 at Leatherhead and finally a total of 30 bags were collected at Junction 23 of the M25 at South Mimms.
Across the South East on the M25, M3, M20, M23, M4 and M27, overhead gantry signs will display the messaging ‘Don’t Drop Litter, Bin It.’ 27 Portable Variable Message Signs have also been switched on with the same message to support anti-littering on our trunk roads.
Andy Whitmill, Connect Plus Services, Service Delivery Director, said: ‘The Great British Spring Clean is a vital campaign that we strongly support. The presence of litter on our network not only negatively impacts the experience of our customers as road-users but, most importantly, puts our colleagues at increased and unnecessary risk when collecting it.
‘The Great British Spring Clean is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate, together, our passion for Sustainability, Safety and Network Stewardship. We are also working in partnership with National Highways to help educate the road user on the impact of littering on the network.’
National Highways colleagues will also be taking matters into their own hands – quite literally – by litter picking in their local communities.
Allison Ogden-Newton, CEO, Keep Britain Tidy said: ’We’re delighted that National Highways are once again supporting the Great British Spring Clean by performing dedicated clean-ups of litter hotspots on the road network.
‘This is often risky work, and we reiterate our message to the public not to be tempted to litter-pick on fast-moving roads because it’s extremely dangerous.
‘We encourage everybody to respect the fact that highway workers face grave danger when having to collect litter thoughtlessly thrown from vehicles, and to keep their rubbish in their vehicle until they can dispose of it correctly.’
While this annual campaign runs for a matter of weeks, National Highways picks litter throughout the year and carries out regular inspections to make sure England’s motorways and major A-roads are in good condition. They also want to hear from you if you spot something wrong on their roads. This could be anything from a broken sign or barrier, to litter, overgrown vegetation or potholes.
For more information on the Great British Spring Clean visit: www.keepbritaintidy.org/get-involved/support-our-campaigns/great-british-spring-clean.