Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, Clare Caulfield
Road litter is unsightly and can also cause vehicle accidents. It’s also hazardous to wildlife (food, glass). Plastic litter can choke wildlife or wash down storm drains, which harms marine creatures when it lands in rivers or seas. Road litter costs millions to clean up, and is dangerous to refuse workers (broken glass, syringe needles). Volunteers are not able to clean road litter, due to safety concerns. Read how to make roads safer for wildlife and reduce road traffic in towns and cities.
The best way to prevent road litter is to make your own sandwiches and take drinks with you in a reusable bottle or flask (to avoid having to buy items at service stations in disposable packaging). The founder of CleanUp Britain says littering fines are way too low in England. He wants the present fine of around £100 to increase to £1000, to show littering is a serious offence. One farmer wants fast food restaurants to put vehicle registrations on receipts. So if people throw packaging out the car window, they receive a fine in the post.
- Never throw litter out of your car window. Invest in a portable car tidy. This fits onto the back of the car seat, to keep your car clean.
- If you smoke, stop somewhere safe and use a personal ashtray (to empty at home). If you do smoke and drive, use a charcoal air freshener (to absorb and remove odours).
- Highways England is responsible for clearing litter from motorways and large A-roads. You can report issues on highways (enter location and they will investigate – litter, broken signs, potholes).
- Councils are responsible for public roads and verges – but should not mow grass before cleaning litter, as this sends millions of shards of glass or plastic everywhere. Report litter (with photos) at Fix My Street (public complaints are then sent to the correct council department). Councils have legal duty to remove litter on public land immediately (no matter who dropped it).
- Councils can also serve Litter Abatement Orders to private landowners who don’t clean litter on publicly-accessible land.