Litter picking teams plea after increase in rubbish left on West Country's main roads

Motorway litter pickers
Litter pickers on the motorway in the West Country.

The West Country is experiencing higher levels of traffic on its motorways than in previous years as more people swap holidays abroad for staycations this summer, but that is coming at a cost for the environment.

There has been an increase in the amount of litter being left strewn across the sides of the main roads that stretch across the region and the teams that look after it are now appealing for people to take litter with them and not dump waste from their vehicles.

The roads are cleared by the Highways Agency and local councils, costing the UK taxpayer money.

Cornwall Council revealed that it had removed more than 20 tonnes of litter from its main roads within six weeks throughout June and July whilst Devon County Council spend £7 million annually clearing up after people who drop litter.

Litter picking teams on motorways removed over 20 tonnes of rubbish from Cornwall.

The clean up teams encounter smaller items from fast food waste but also larger items that have been fly-tipped.

Julian Strong from Highways England urged drivers not to dump rubbish across the region's link roads.

"We live in a beautiful part of the world we are privileged to be here and we want to ensure that people can enjoy the countryside," he said.

"It doesn't need to be blighted by waste so we want people to heed the advice and take litter away from them."

Whilst it does make the region look nicer to have roads free of litter, there is also other reasons for it, including safety.

"A lot of litter gets clogged up in our drains and that can cause flooding, In high winds the debris can blow across roads," he explained.

"That is a safety risk for everyone on the road. We have diverse verges for species and it is a danger to them."