Motorists warned against dropping litter amid motorways clean-up

By Megan Archer | Transport | Published:

Drivers are being urged to clean up their act as the amount of rubbish littering motorways and major roads across the Midlands is revealed by Highways England.

Motorists are being warned against littering along the region's motorways and major routes

Almost 17,500 bags of litter were collected from the roadside by Highways England in the West Midlands region alone last year, as well as more than 560 items of debris.

Around 200,000 bags of litter are collected from Highways England roads every year, figures have shown. Litter presents a serious safety risk besides being unsightly and a risk to wildlife and the environment.

To help tackle the problem of littering, Highways England once again took part in Keep Britain Tidy’s Great British Spring Clean this year encouraging drivers and passengers to keep the country clean – with 19,450 bags of rubbish collected from its road network.

A variety of sites were targeted as part of the campaign, which ran from March 22 to April 23, including fly tipping sites which were tackled jointly with local authorities to help clear sofas, beds, building materials and other large debris.

To coincide with the Great British Spring Clean, a mass litter pick was launched across key sites.

The warning comes amid the ongoing major works at the Oldbury Viaduct on the M5

In the West Midlands 875 bags of rubbish were collected by Highways England from roadsides during the campaign.

The biggest litter hotspots of the clean-up were on the M6 with 219 bags of litter collected between junction 10a and 11, 184 bags around junction 15 and 89 bags at junction 9.


There were 86 bags collected from around junction 3 of the M5, 24 from junction 7 of the M54 and 80 bags of litter from junctions 10 to 11 of the M42.

Highways England’s Head of Customer and Operational Requirements, Freda Rashdi, said: “Litter is an important national issue and we’re pleased we were able to support the Great British Spring Clean.

“We collect litter throughout the year but this time we wanted to have a particular purge in a bid to encourage drivers to take their litter home. If people don’t drop litter in the first place it wouldn’t need to be picked up.

“Litter is not only unsightly as well as a risk to wildlife and the environment, but it also puts our workers at risk collecting it and diverts time and money that could be better spent on improving the network.”


Allison Ogden Newton, chief executive at Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Our roadside verges are a haven for wildlife and we know that millions of small mammals are killed every year by litter that has been thrown from vehicles by thoughtless drivers.

“Our army of up to 500,000 volunteers are delighted to see that Highways England is supporting their efforts by cleaning up the places that they can’t get to – our high-speed road network and slip roads.”

Teams will be continuing to tackle litter across the motorway network, working alongside local authorities to keep the roads litter free.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email


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