Call for drivers to help reduce roadside litter

A plan to reduce the amount of litter on the UK’s motorway and strategic road network has been unveiled by the Highways Agency.

It is launching its first litter strategy, setting out how, with the support of road users, it will reduce the amount of rubbish on the network.

The Agency’s aim is to reduce the need to collect litter in the first place, while ensuring it delivers an effective and safe litter picking service.

The new strategy sets out four areas the Agency will work on to reduce the amount of litter on its roads:

* Encouraging road users and the wider public to not drop litter in the first place

* Improving the way it collects litter safely and causing as little disruption as possible

* Welcoming and responding to customer feedback about litter

* Working more closely with key partners and stakeholders, including local authorities, motorway service areas, Keep Britain Tidy and the freight and haulage industry.

The document includes case studies of some of the work already done in these areas, such as campaigns using variable message signs, closer working with local authorities and working with traffic commissioners to reduce litter from commercial vehicles.

Highways Agency chief executive Graham Dalton said: “Litter isn’t just unsightly – it can cause accidents, block drains and present a danger to wildlife. Our new litter strategy draws together for the first time the different areas we want to improve to reduce litter on our roads and will allow us to really focus on this important issue.

“But while we are working hard to improve how we collect litter safely and effectively, our message is simple – if you don’t drop litter, the roadside will look a lot better and we won’t need to spend a lot of taxpayers’ money picking it up.”

Phil Barton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, added: “Better co-ordination of maintenance operations, coupled with high-profile campaigns aimed at drivers and passengers in all types of vehicles, is a welcome development.

“Keep Britain Tidy looks forward to partnering the Agency in helping to make this new strategy a real success – for all our benefit.”

A copy of the litter strategy is available on the Highways Agency website at

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Its clear that roadside litter levels are probably at their worst ever, but it occurs to me that longer its left uncleared the longer it takes to clear up when that day eventually arrives. Surely this is approaching a false economy by keeping clearance at such a low frequency. Having said this unless the general public who fail to see the mess around them have the potential hazards posed by roadside litter clearly and repeated to them I fear that the problem will continue to worsen.I do seem to remember a regular tv campaign about not throwing litter from cars. Its no wonder Britain has the reputation of the dirty man of europe.