Littering up our highways
A number of constituents have written to Priti about the egregious state of the verges on major trunk roads in the Witham area and, in particular, the A12 which have been getting into a disgraceful state. The section between Witham and Ipswich has been particularly badly affected with litter and debris strewn over a wide area.
Apart from the environmental and safety issues involved in having all this detritus lying by our highways, it also gives an appalling impression to visitors to our county and particularly to foreign visitors. The authority responsible for litter picking on the A12 is Colchester Borough Council and, therefore, Priti wrote to Adrian Pritchard, its Chief Executive to find out what the Council is doing to tackle the problem.
Colchester Borough Council has provided a detailed response which makes it clear that action is being taken and the key points of their reply are as follows:
“The Council attempts to undertake litter picking on the all-purpose trunk road network at least every three weeks, but only in those locations where it is safe to do so and weather permitting. The limitations of finding safe working areas means that it is sometimes difficult for us to maintain as high a standard of litter picking as we would like on these routes. Unfortunately, during Covid 19, with depleted staffing levels through shielding, we had to prioritise other core services (i.e. general household waste collections), which has therefore contributed to a rise in the volume of rubbish along this route.
As part of the Neighbourhood Services recovery plan, I am pleased to confirm that we are currently carrying out an intensive litter pick along the A12/A120 verges by a dedicated crew, providing the relevant risk assessments are met each day. This is expected to continue until April when we will then continue with three weekly litter picks. We have also scheduled some initial deep cleans of our laybys, which will then be followed by twice weekly inspections by our Neighbourhood Warden teams. Any fly tipping issues will be logged onto our reporting system and dealt with.
The Council regularly run campaigns to try to encourage residents and visitors to the area to take their litter home with them, as unfortunately the problem does originate with the public.
We are also keen to work with partners, as this could potentially provide us with greater opportunities to do increased litter picking work. Colchester Borough Council, along with other Essex Authorities that have strategic routes running through them, have been invited to form a network working group by the Cleaner Counties Group, along with Highways England.
The group will have a focus on developing joined up working between Local Authorities and Highways England on cleansing on the all-purpose trunk road network – A12 and A120. There have been discussions about sharing of resources, equipment and training and there was a commitment that we would work together to undertake a trial once lockdown restrictions have been lifted.”
Priti will continue to monitor the situation.