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A friend sent me a link to an article in This is Money, which was reporting on the cost of removing rubbish from around Britain’s motorways and A-roads. Most of this rubbish will have been thrown from vehicles by drivers and their passengers, and although the removal cost is said to be some £4.8m a year – since these roads only make up 12.7% of our road network – the real cost of the clear up is much greater.
The article claims that some 364,000 bags full of litter have been collected since 2013, with
roadside pickers filling more than 333 sacks every day along 4,300 miles of Britain’s motorways and A-roads.
The cost of filling each bag – at £40 – is said to be the equivalent of a single pothole repair – and we all know where the money should really be spent, don’t we?
Highways England released a 'Litter Strategy' report in 2014 in an attempt to educate motorists on the problems they cause by discarding litter, but rather than there being less rubbish to clear, collection rates have increased, with 139,952 bags filled between 2015 and 2016.
The solution is simple, and as Highways England project manager Michael Hoult says: “The litter can cause a hazard to drivers, workers and wildlife. I'd urge everyone to keep a bag in their car to use for rubbish, and then put it in the bin when they get home.”
But people aren’t listening, are they?
There was an interesting forum at the foot of the article, with many posters suggesting that rather than having paid council employees do the work, offenders on Community Service or those serving time in prison, should be forced to do it. Others argue that this is jeopardising jobs – and indeed one posted: “Dropping litter keeps people in a job. In fact we should drop more to keep unemployment even lower. More jobs can be created by having inspectors monitor that enough litter is dropped to keep the workers in a job. Finally, we need an overall monitoring department. We could call this OffDrop or OffLit.”
I can’t quite work out whether they were serious or not…
The majority of us hate CCTV systems around our roads, so aiming cameras onto sliproads, where apparently much of the rubbish is dropped, with litterbugs being heavily fined and given penalty points on their licences, really appeals. Don’t you agree?
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14th July 2016