Thoughtless drivers are putting lives and wildlife in danger and blighting the countryside by discarding tons of rubbish.
To cope with the tsunami of trash, special teams from Highways England risk their lives collecting thousands of bags of litter from roadsides.
Now the agency – which looks after the nation’s motorways and A-roads and carries out litter picks nearly every day – has backed the Great British Spring Clean, with a plea for selfish motorists to take their rubbish home and stop using verges as a tip.
During the Great British Spring Clean last year, Highways England collected 12,000 bags of litter.
In the Midlands, more than 70 sacks, as well as a mattress and a 1,000-litre oil tank, were collected from the A38 in Staffordshire.
In the South East, it worked with Brighton and Hove and Adur and Worthing councils for a litter pick on the A27 at Southwick, collecting more than 138 bags.
This month, a litter pick will be taking place off the A31 at Avon Heath Country Park. near Ringwood, Dorset.
Thoughtless drivers are putting lives and wildlife in danger and blighting the countryside by discarding tons of rubbish [Stock image]
The agency has also worked with North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire councils to target littering in 23 laybys on the A180 – a route taken by HGVs using Immingham and Grimsby ports.
Freda Rashdi, head of customer and operational requirements, said: ‘We’re urging road users to save litter for the bin.
‘The simple fact is that if litter wasn’t dropped 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.
‘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 join with Keep Britain Tidy in urging people to take their litter home.’ Allison Ogden-Newton, CEO of Keep Britain Tidy said.
‘Everyone, please, please, please do not throw anything from your car… putting wildlife and other people’s lives at risk.
‘It is great that Highways England support the Great British Spring Clean, doing dedicated, deep cleans of problem areas.
‘But our message to the public is clear – do not be tempted to litter pick on motorways. Highways England will do this as it is extremely dangerous.’
Yesterday, Highways England committed to clear up 10,000 miles of roads for the Great British Spring Clean, which ends on June 13. So far, volunteers have pledged to tidy 996,204 miles of the UK – within sight of the 1,000,000-mile target.
Little Lillian, 4, one of the UK’s youngest Wombles
Lillian Smith, 4, is a keen litter-picker
One of Britain’s youngest Wombles went out with her prized picker for the Great British Spring Clean campaign.
Four-year-old Lillian Smith turned out with her birthday present for The Wombles of Hambleton, a litter picking group in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.
The prolific group, with 2,000 followers on Facebook, has already collected 2,300 sacks of rubbish this year.
It staged three picks to celebrate the Great British Spring Clean over the Bank Holiday weekend alone.
Lillian’s mother Rachel Smith said: ‘Lillian got her litter picker for her birthday in April and has been desperate to try it out once lockdown eased.
‘She was so incredibly excited finally to be out picking.’
For more info go to gbspringclean.org
Fly-tippers nabbed on motorway
Fly-tippers caught dumping rubbish on a motorway were escorted 40 miles back to their waste by police and ordered to pick it up.
CCTV operators spotted three men leaving bags next to an emergency refuge bay on the M6 near Stafford.
Officers stopped the men further up the motorway and then escorted them back.
The red-faced trio were pictured picking up their rubbish on March 28 after they were shamed by police on social media
The red-faced trio were pictured picking up their rubbish on March 28 after they were shamed by police on social media.
PC Nick James, from the central motorway group, said: ‘We were able to escort [the vehicle] back to the scene – roughly around a 40-mile round trip – so they could pick up their mess.’
One Twitter user joked: ‘Absolute class. Guess it wasn’t a clean getaway for them.’