Litter and other debris at the sides of the nation‚’s trunk roads is a national disgrace and disgusting sight for residents and visitors alike. In Sussex, along the A27, we are faced with vast amounts of discarded debris including equipment regularly abandoned by Highways England‚’s contractors (all funded at a cost to the public purse). Although volunteer litter picking works in many locations, it is largely not feasible in relation to trunk roads due to traffic speeds.
Highways England (HE) has the responsibility for closing the road and cutting the vegetation. Local authorities have the responsibility for clearing the litter but have no funding to pay HE for dedicated road closures and so have to piggy back when the road is closed for other purposes. However, co-ordination between HE and the authorities is not always possible, and seldom works well, as road closures can change at short notice and other priorities can intervene e.g. local authority staff may need to be diverted to refuse collection in the event of illness (such as during this pandemic).
The result is that litter remains unpicked, it is then shredded by HE‚’s contractors during vegetation cutting and ultimately ends up in the water courses and blocking drainage channels causing untold environmental damage ‚’ quite apart from a very unsightly mess.
This is a national problem which is causing widespread distress as the Clean Highways website demonstrates: https://www.cleanhighways.co.uk/ . In relation to the A27, residents have been working with all MPs and local authorities along the route and believe that the systemic failures inherent in the current approach can be readily rectified with appropriate Government intervention. This would be in line with Boris Johnson‚’s acceptance speech in which he undertook to ‚’make this country the cleanest, greenest on earth‚’.