Council leader backs community campaign to clear up A27
Council leader Nancy Platts is backing a community campaign calling on Highways England to take over responsibility for removing litter on the A27.
Sussex residents forming the A27 Clean Up Campaign have written to the Transport Secretary to point out that the current system doesn’t work.
It leaves councils responsible for removing litter while Highways England are responsible for cutting back the vegetation and strimming the grass.
If verges are strimmed before a litter pick, the shredded litter and plastic becomes too small to collect and becomes embedded in the soil.
This affects not only the surrounding wildlife and flora but also the water table and later the sea.
It also causes blockages to roadside drainage channels and leaves unsightly plastic blowing along the roadsides.
The A27 Clean Up Campaign
The A27 Clean Up Campaign group formed to highlight the issue and raise awareness of the amount of roadside litter and debris left along the picturesque Sussex route.
The A27 is a national trunk road owned by Highways England. Maintenance of the road is the responsibility of Highways England, as is the cleaning and management of the central reservations.
Councils receive no funding for clearing verges and have to pay Highways England’s contractors for the necessary road closures.
They need 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.
A complicated and expensive task
Councillor Platts said: “Keeping the verges of the major roads in the city’s area clean is a major job. We collected 500 bags of rubbish during our clean-up of the A27 and A23 in May.
“It’s currently a very complicated and expensive task and I fully support the campaign’s call for Highways England to take over responsibility.
“The A27 runs through seven different local authority areas, and we have to co-ordinate with all of them as well as Highways England over lane closures, staff safety and keeping traffic disruption to a minimum. It would be a much simpler operation for Highways England to undertake.
“Of course, keeping verges clean and litter free is everyone’s responsibility. People should not be throwing rubbish out of their cars. It is irresponsible and anti-social.”
A more efficient system needed
Neil Kerridge, co-chair of the A27 Clean Up Campaign, said: “The poor condition of the road has seen a marked deterioration over the last few years with a substantial increase in roadside litter, grit and other debris.
“It’s an eyesore for everyone who travels along it, hence the increasing number of complaints, not only from local residents but also from visitors.
“While more needs to be done to prevent the litter happening in the first place through education and enforcement, we need to ensure that the system for removing the litter is as efficient and effective as possible.
“Each of the local authorities and MPs with whom we are working recognises that this is a serious issue which needs to be addressed at national level.
“We have therefore written to Grant Shapps MP, the new Secretary of State for Transport, requesting that he uses his powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to transfer responsibility for cleaning the A27 to Highways England.”