Campaign launched as M11 remains litter hotspot in East of England

PUBLISHED: 14:42 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:02 28 March 2019

M11 roadside is a litter hotspot in East of England. Picture: PA Archive/PA Images/Andrew Parsons

M11 roadside is a litter hotspot in East of England. Picture: PA Archive/PA Images/Andrew Parsons

PA Archive/PA Images

More than 3,800 bags of litter were collected from the M11 roadside last year, making it the top litter hotspot in the East of England.

Highways England is calling on drivers to join them in doing their bit to reduce the litter levels on roads in the East of England, after it was revealed more than 10,000 bags of litter were collected from the roadside last year.

The M11 (3,844 bags), M1 (3,511 bags) and the A1(M) (2,158) remained hotspots for litter during 2018, with a further 606 bags collected from the A414.

Litter presents a serious safety risk besides being unsightly and a risk to wildlife and the environment.

Around 200,000 bags of litter are collected from the motorway network every year, with an estimated 10,119 bags from motorways and major roads in the East of England alone. To tackle the problem Highways England is taking again taking part in Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean encouraging drivers and passengers to keep the country clean.

Highways England routine delivery manager, Andy Shilliday, said: “Safety is at the heart of everything we do at Highways England, and as littering puts road workers at risk when they go out to collect it, we would urge drivers to take their litter home with them.

“Last year, more than 3,000 hours were spent collecting litter from motorways and major roads in the East of England. It costs about £50, time and money which could have been much better spent maintaining and improving the roads in the region.

“Drivers regularly comment on the importance of maintaining a clean and tidy road network and as such we work together with partners to main roads in the East of England. However, if people don’t drop litter in the first place it wouldn’t need to be picked up – so we’re urging people to take their litter home instead of tossing it out of their car windows.”

The spring clean campaign takes place between Friday, March 22 and Tuesday, April 23. Highways England picks litter throughout the year and hopes Keep Britain Tidy’s latest campaign will help change people’s roadside littering habits.

Allison Ogden Newton, chief executive at Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Our roadside verges are a haven for wildlife and we know that millions of small mammals are killed every year by litter that has been thrown from vehicles by thoughtless drivers.

“Our army of up to 500,000 volunteers will be delighted to see that Highways England is supporting their efforts by cleaning up the place that they can’t get to – our high-speed road network and slip roads, where is much litter is tossed out of car windows.”

Besides the usual takeaway wrappers or plastic bottles that have been picked up, in previous years some of the more unusual items have included push bikes, fridges, settees and wallets.

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