Leader of the Council, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, is calling for National Highways to accept responsibility cleaning these main routes into and out of the city.
The A27 is a national trunk road owned by National Highways. Maintenance of the road is the responsibility of National Highways, as is the cleaning and management of the central reservations.
Under current arrangements, the council is responsible for removing litter while National Highways are responsible for cutting back the vegetation and strimming the grass.
Councils receive no funding for clearing verges and have to pay National Highway’s contractors for the necessary road closures. They need to co-ordinate with National Highway’s contractors for litter picks to take place during other maintenance work. This often proves impractical and access to clean the roads is not seen as a priority.
It leads to cleaning standards significantly deteriorating in recent years, due to the council’s limited ability to access the highway in order to undertake this task.
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.
These roads are used by lots of commuters every day and as traffic continues to increase this is only contributing to the litter and debris already causing the problem.
Call for National Highways to take responsibility
Councillor Mac Cafferty said: “At present the two main routes both into and out of the city are an eyesore with the amount of litter and debris strewn around. So I’ve written to government ministers, calling for the responsibility to clean the verges of the highways in the city to sit with National Highways and their contractors.
“This follows a significant increase in roadside litter- everything from household rubbish to loads on vehicles that have come loose. At present, sadly, we have no control arranging access to the highways and we’re not seen as a priority. This doesn’t make sense and makes it very difficult and costly to clean the verges.
“National Highways could factor this into their existing work schedules and make efficiencies by timing the cleaning at the same time. That would make the operation much smoother and keep the verges cleaner.”
“Given the concerning state of littering of the A23 and A27 and the impact this has on the well-being of local communities, our environment, as well as tourism, I have asked the Secretary of State for Transport to transfer responsibility to National Highways as a matter of urgency.”
Keep Brighton & Hove Tidy
The Love our City, Keep Brighton & Hove Tidy campaign, featured recently as part of our Great British Spring Clean. This resulted in cleaning crews collecting 1,540kg litter, as well as numerous small fly tips from a section of the A27 trunk road.
A mechanical sweeper also picked up 8,100 kg silt and debris so it goes to show what poor condition roads such as these are in at present.
While more needs to be done to prevent the litter happening in the first place through education and enforcement, we also need to ensure that the system for removing the litter is as efficient and effective as possible.