The Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) needs the public’s help in the fight against roadside litter.
This is the time of year it receives the most complaints about litter on verges and at the roadside.
As the vegetation is cut back by both public and private landowners, the litter that has accumulated in bushes, shrubs and long grass become an eyesore. Roads operated by Highways England can look particularly scruffy at times.
The DWP says: “While we clean most busy roads regularly throughout the year, we organise litter picking on the worst affected around late winter/early spring, prioritised according to levels of litter.”
Last year, similar work in February and March cost Dorset tax-payers around £40K.
Picking on high-speed roads requires a great deal of planning. The DWP must apply for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) around four to six weeks in advance to ensure it can implement the appropriate safety measures to protect staff.
“We typically litter pick at the roadside with teams of up to 12 staff between 9.30am and 3.30pm to avoid peak traffic times – just setting up can take hours. On some roads such as the A31, we are required to use approved contractors to provide traffic management.
“We often litter-pick overnight when traffic is at a minimum and/or we can close the roads entirely. “We also need to get permission from Highways England to work on the road overnight, which can be revoked at late notice if affected by accidents and incidents.
“If we know about planned closures for road maintenance, we do try and litter pick at the same time. We also coordinate with grass verge cutting contractors where possible.
“Perhaps our biggest frustration is that, despite our efforts, some roads become covered in litter again just weeks later, often leading to the assumption that litter picking hasn’t been done.
“The bottom line is that there wouldn’t be a problem if some people didn’t throw their litter out of cars in the first place.”
The DWP is supporting Litter Free Dorset’s ‘Don’t be a TOS53R’ campaign, which has been designed to send a hard-hitting message to drivers and their passengers that our roads are not one giant litter bin and that the owner of a vehicle can be fined up to £100 if rubbish is seen being thrown out of a car window.
Cllr Tony Alford, chairman of the Dorset Waste Partnership’s joint committee, said: “We would like to thank the majority of Dorset motorists and passengers who take their rubbish home and dispose of it properly using their household bins. But the responsibility for this mess at the roadside lies with the minority who think it is acceptable to throw rubbish from their vehicles.
While the DWP has an important duty to clear up litter, roadside litter-picking takes resources and money away from essential services. If you spot litter being thrown from a vehicle, please let us know. Together, we can help stamp out this anti-social behaviour.”