Drivers are urged to ‘bag it and bin it’

A CRACKDOWN on roadside litter will be launched today – just months after the EADT revealed it was costing Suffolk councils more than �230,000 a year picking up rubbish from the county’s main trunk roads.

The Highways Agency is urging all motorists to ‘Bag It and Bin It’ in a new drive to tackle the issue and reduce the build up of unsightly rubbish along our roads.

It warns roadside litter is also a threat to the environment and wildlife, blocking drains and causing flooding.

Derek Turner, Highways Agency network director, said: “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.

“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.”

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The problem has been a significant one in Suffolk. Earlier this year, an EADT investigation revealed the scale of the clear up along the A12, A14 and A11 as well as stretches of other main roads.

It has also been highlighted by BBC Radio Suffolk’s ‘Don’t be a tosser’ campaign.

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In the last year Mid Suffolk District Council has spent more than �58,000 collecting waste from the A12 and A14. Under a contractual agreement Ipswich Borough Council and Babergh District Council pay Mid Suffolk to cover their sections of the two trunk roads.

In west Suffolk the clearing of the A14 and A11 has cost at least �72,000 for the financial year 2009/10 – while Forest Heath District Council has contributed �23,819 for its share of the clear-up.

Waveney District Council has spent �30,545 on cleaning the A12 and A146 this year.

A spokesman for Suffolk District Council said between �70,000 and �80,000 was spent each year tidying up the A12 and A14 from its street cleaning budget.

Andrew Stringer, a Green Party representative on Suffolk County Council, said: “We do appear to have a society where a minority of people value the cleanliness of their cars above the cleanliness of the countryside.

“What I don’t think these people realise is that they are stealing the environment away from those of us that wish to enjoy it, they are stealing resources that could be recycled and they are also stealing from the tourism industry – if people see that the countryside is littered then they won’t want to come back.”

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