Drivers urged to keep roads litter free

Highways Agency issued ‘Bag it! Bin It!’ initiative.

The Highways Agency is calling on drivers to help tackle roadside litter on England’s motorways and major A roads.

People responding to the Agency’s Road User Satisfaction Surveys rate keeping motorways and trunk roads free of litter as highly important. However, a recent survey revealed that nearly three quarters of road users felt it was not their responsibility to keep roads litter free.

The Highways Agency’s ‘Bag It! Bin It!’ message reminds road users about the problems that litter can cause, and asks them to make sure their rubbish is properly and responsibly disposed of. Drivers are encouraged to keep a bag for rubbish in their vehicles, until it can be disposed of safely in a bin.

The Highways Agency estimates that the equivalent of at least 700,000 sacks of litter is removed from the motorways and other strategic roads it manages in England every year.

Roadside litter is not only unsightly, but it is a threat to the environment and wildlife and can block drains and cause flooding. For highway authorities, clearing litter diverts much needed resources away from road maintenance and repairs, while items thrown from moving vehicles can be a hazard to other road users.

Derek Turner, Highways Agency Network Director, said:

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“The Highways Agency and local authorities will continue to clear litter from our roads, but we could put our resources to better use if rubbish was not carelessly discarded in the first place. Litter is not only unsightly, but we spend public money on clearing it, which could be far better used on keeping our roads safe and in good condition.

“Our ‘Bag it! Bin it!’ message is that one easy way for drivers to tackle roadside litter is by keeping a bag in their vehicle, and using it to store rubbish until it can be disposed of safely in a bin. If everyone took this simple step, it would be a really positive move towards tackling roadside litter.”

The Highways Agency’s Road User Satisfaction Surveys ask respondents to rate the importance of keeping motorways free from litter. Results from the most recent survey show that on a scale of 1 to 10 – with 10 being the most important – respondents rated it at just below 9.