The Environment Act 1990 gives the responsibility for clearing litter from the trunk road network to the local authorities through which the road passes (ie the local District and Borough Councils).  This means that there are several authorities responsible along most trunk roads. 

Clearing litter from a high-speed road is expensive, time-consuming and dangerous.  The local authorities and their cleansing contractors are not the right authorities to have this job.  All other aspects of managing and maintaining the trunk road network is the responsibility of the Highways Agency – who have the properly accredited personnel.

Clearing litter from the trunk road network should be given to the Highways Agency (along with the funding to do it).  They would be able to do it cheaper because they could coordinate the work with their other maintenance activities and the appearance of the trunk roads would improve.

This requires an amendment to the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Why is this idea important?

The appearance of the trunk road network is often spoiled by litter.  The local authorities do their best to keep the routes clean, but they are restricted in the times they can work on the road and by the cost of providing the necessary traffic management.

We all have a vested interest in improving the environment.  At the moment, the irony is that the Environmental Protection Act 1990 actually prevents the authority most able to clear litter from the trunk road network – ie the Highways Agency – from doing it.

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