Text drive to keep England’s roads clean
13 September 2010
Keep Britain Tidy is calling on motorists to clean up their act and stop using our roads as a dumping ground for their rubbish.
We are asking people to send their nominations to our new, free text messaging number and aims to find out which of the country’s motorways people see as the most littered.
Despite the fact that throwing litter out of a car window is one of Britain’s biggest driving annoyances, with 90 per cent of road users finding it irritating (Encams survey, 2003), almost a quarter of people admit to dropping litter from the vehicle.
It is perhaps not surprising then that the Highways Agency collects almost three-quarters of a million sacks of litter from England’s motorways and major A roads each year. In 2009, that equated to more than 150 sackfuls of rubbish for every mile of these roads.
Keep Britain Tidy’s own research shows that people throw litter from their cars because they feel they will not be seen and they won’t be caught.
Now, following the Highways Agency’s recent Bag It! Bin It! campaign, Keep Britain Tidy wants to show those motorists just what their discarded litter means in real terms.
But, in order to make the point effectively, the charity needs to know which of England’s motorways drivers find to be the worst for litter. Road-users are invited to text in locations where they spot litter at the roadside.
Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Phil Barton said: ‘The reason that litter is seen on our motorways is that thoughtless and selfish people have hurled empty crisp packets, drinks cartons, cigarette butts and other waste out of their car windows in the first place.
‘All people need to do is keep their litter in their vehicle until they get to their destination and then put it where it belongs – in a bin.’
Derek Turner, director of Network Delivery and Development for the Highways Agency, 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. Litter is not only unsightly, but we spend public money on clearing it when it could be far better used to keep our roads safe and in good condition.
‘There is one easy way for drivers to tackle roadside litter – 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.’
Throwing litter from a car – like other forms of littering – is a criminal offence, punishable by an on-the-spot fine of up to £75.
To get involved in Keep Britain Tidy’s survey of the nation’s motorways, people should simply text ‘Litter’ to 80360, followed by a space and their nomination. If possible, include details about where the litter was spotted and on which carriageway (north or southbound, east or westbound). Texts cost 0p plus your normal operator text charge and all nominations should be sent in by Friday, October 8. Service provided by Newsquest Media Group.
Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency. Make sure it is safe and legal before you text.