Whilst councillors discussed the issue of litter and debris on the verges of the Brighton A27 bypass at the recent Brighton & Hove Full Council, Labour won support for its request that the council should ask the government to transfer responsibility for cleaning the A27 to National Highways.
Community campaigners have regularly drawn attention to the continued presence of copious quantities of litter beside the trunk road. It has seen a marked deterioration over recent years with a huge increase in roadside litter, grit and other debris.
Labour agree more needs to be done to prevent the litter happening in the first place through education and enforcement, whilst ensuring that the system for removing the litter is as efficient and effective as possible.
Under the Environmental Protection Act, councils have a duty to keep land and highways clear of litter; this extends to clearing litter on Highways England’s trunk roads.
Councillors agreed for officers to prepare a report for the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee on a long-term strategy, with Labour requesting officers liaise with Highways England to identify ways to mitigate and manage the clear up problem whilst noting that responsibility for clearing litter from some all-purpose trunk roads has been transferred in some areas of England.
Cllr Gary Wilkinson, Labour’s opposition spokesperson on environment, transport and sustainability matters, said:
“The current system simply does not work.
“Councils receive no funding for clearing verges and have to pay National Highways’ contractors for the necessary road closures. The burden and cost of keeping the highway and adjacent verges clear of litter on the strategic road network falls unfairly on some local authorities including Brighton and Hove City Council.
“We have to co-ordinate with Highways England’s contractors for litter picks to take place during other maintenance work. This often proves impractical and means many parts of the road are strewn with litter for long periods.
“It would be a much simpler operation for Highways England to undertake and therefore we should ultimately seeks the transfer of responsibility for cleaning the A27 from Brighton and Hove City Council to Highways England.
“This surely must be in the best interest of all our tax paying residents.”
Image: David Lally