Litterbugs in Suffolk are costing the taxpayer £150,000
PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 April 2015
Around two tonnes of roadside litter is being picked up a week on Suffolk’s two busiest roads, it has been revealed.
And the issue is only getting worse, according to figures released by Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils.
In 2011/12, 71.48 tonnes of litter was collected on the A14 from Thurston to Nacton and the A12 from the Copdock roundabout to the border with Essex.
In 2014/15, it is estimated that figure will have reached 102 tonnes. At the end of January, the figure already stood at 85 tonnes with two months left in the financial year.
In west Suffolk, covering a combined 43km stretch of the A14 and A11, councils also pick up nearly 20 tonnes of litter a year.
Peter Garrett, Babergh and Mid Suffolk’s corporate manager for public realm, said the amount of litter being dropped on the roads was “disgusting”. It costs Suffolk council tax payers around £150,000 a year.
Mr Garrett said the litter is collected from laybys, embankments and verges.
He explained: “The figures are rising every year. It’s a mixture of people dropping rubbish out of private cars and commercial vehicles not securing loads properly.”
Mr Garrett said the problem was worse at slip roads, as people were slowing down.
“People travelling at 70mph don’t want to wind down their windows, for any reason, so when they’re driving slower they throw the rubbish out.
“It’s disgusting – they should be taking it home.”
Much of the rubbish collected is food wrappers, cups and bottles according to Mr Garrett.
Mr Garrett said: “My message is loud and clear. Don’t drop it in the first place. Take it home and dispose of it responsibly.”
Paul Watters, head of road policy at The AA, said: “Roadside litter doesn’t make places look very pretty
“It’s not a nice task to do and it comes from somewhere. It’s not always drivers but most often it is.
“People don’t think it harms to chuck a wrapper out but it does.”
Mr Watters also said littering could potentially be very dangerous, and added: “It’s anti social and it doesn’t look welcoming if you’re driving on the roads into the county.”
Amanda Bond, from Visit Suffolk, said: “We need to ensure visitors to the county have the most enjoyable experience possible, building positive memories and encouraging a future staycation.
“Suffolk benefits from a high proportion of repeat visits, which accounts for 70% of all visits to the county, and we need to do all we can to protect and grow this level of interest.”
A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “The A12 and A14 are the two main transport routes into Suffolk and experience high volumes of use of a daily basis.
“It is important that they are kept clear of litter to present the county positively to travellers moving through the area. It is a shame that such volumes of litter accumulate along the verges of these important motorways.
“While some is carried along on the wind, road users have a responsibility to ensure their litter is disposed of properly in the litter bins provided along the course of the motorway.”
Mr Garrett stressed there was a positive side to the clearing up of rubbish left on the county’s roads.
“We are making the environment more welcoming,” he said.
“People do judge places on the amount of litter, and we want to make Suffolk as clean a place to rest work and play as we can.
“We now have the overhead gantries on the A14 displaying anti-litter messages in the hope it discourages people.”
As part of an ongoing project, spot checks are also being carried out to check for waste carriers licences we will also be looking to make sure loads are secured correctly and that litter cannot simply blow out of the back of vehicles, and in every layby covered by Babergh and Mid Suffolk there is a bin deemed safe by the Highways Agency.
“But my main message is don’t drop it in the first place. Take responsibility and then we won’t have to pick up the litter.”