Keeping roadsides litter-free

Winchester City Council is urging motorists to play their part in keeping roadsides free of litter.
The Council itself has committed to closer working with its contractor, the Highways Agency and Hampshire County Council in a bid to cut down on litter in the district.

A combination of severe vegetation cuts on roadside verges and new safety regulations for litter-picking on fast roads led to a noticeable increase in litter this spring alongside many of these roads including the A34 and A303.

The Contract Management Team is looking for a long-term solution to the issues and is working to co-ordinate cutting and litter collection to keep Winchester’s roadsides clean and clear.

The cuts are carried out by Hampshire County Council, which manages most roads in the district, and the Highways Authority, which manages the A34 and A303, while litter collection is handled by City Council’s contractor, The Landscape Group.

This year hedgerows and vegetation have been cut back three metres from the roadside rather than the normal one metre. This has revealed litter which was previously hidden or unreachable.

Coupled with this, new safety regulations mean litter-pickers must be protected by lane closures and other traffic management measures while collecting litter on the roadside. Failure to comply with the new regulations is a criminal offence.

A programme is in place to clear the litter from the A34 and A303 during May. Rolling lane closures, with appropriate safety vehicles and signage, will be used to allow litter collection on the outside verges and central reservation.

In the remainder of the district a significant number of other routes have now been cleared of litter using additional resources drafted in to speed up progress.

Litter-picking on the majority of the non-trunk road ‘hot-spots’ has now been completed and work to tackle the remaining sections and the trunk roads will take place during May. Road space has been booked to allow the required lane closures to take place.

Sadly, completed roads are already experiencing further littering. The Council will be working on an education campaign to try to tackle the root cause of the problem which in most cases is motorists throwing items out of cars.

The position will soon be ‘business as usual’ with roads subject to routine litter-picking and appropriate contract monitoring arrangements in place in order to ensure that the work is completed satisfactorily.

The City Council is also in discussions with both the Highways Agency and Hampshire County Council to see if litter-picking can be integrated with verge-cutting operations or even transferred to these organisations in future.