Litter-picking on England’s motorways costs at least £6 million a year, and could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool four times over, latest figures from the Highways Agency show.
The Agency collects more than 7,500 tonnes of litter from its roads each year, and is now urging motorists to help tackle the problem by bagging and binning their rubbish.
Litter thrown onto the nation’s highways can cause a safety hazard to other vehicles, while the task of clearing roadside rubbish naturally puts workers at unnecessary risk.
In the past year, roadside finds include a 6ft tall statue of an Olympic mascot, pieces of furniture, a rocking horse and even a sailing mast – all of which could have caused serious accidents.
The Highways Agency has launched its annual ‘Bag it, bin it’ campaign and is asking road users to help reduce the amount of litter on motorways and major A-roads, which can also threaten wildlife and block drains which can lead to flooding.
Bag it, bin it
Roads minister Robert Goodwill said: “The Highways Agency spends at least £6 million a year collecting more than 150,000 sacks of litter from England’s motorways.
“It costs around £40 to collect each bag of rubbish from a motorway, roughly what it costs the Agency to fix a pothole.
“With the ‘Bag it, bin it’ campaign we want to encourage more people to keep a bag in their car, bag their rubbish themselves and dispose of it safely.”