Roadside litter knows no boundaries

Roadside litter is a persistent, highly visible problem that is difficult, dangerous and costly to clean up.

However, it is preventable, and over the next fortnight (3-16 October) councils and road operators will be joining our environmental charity, for a cross border focus to tackle the problem.

Litter knows no boundaries; it affects motorways, main roads and local roads in urban and rural areas. It blights the communities these roads run through. Latest data from the charity highlights that 94% of roadsides are impacted by litter, with 50 tonnes abandoned on Scotland's roadsides each month. An overwhelming 91% of adults living in Scotland now agree that roadside litter creates a negative impression of Scotland. Roadside litter is a complex issue that stems from a combination of factors, relating to litter sources, littering behaviours and litter management. Prevention is an essential part of the solution, but so is removing it when it is chucked from car windows or blown on to roads from nearby sites.

During the fortnight of collaborative action there will be:

  • Deep cleans tackling litter, flytipping and other issues such as graffiti, across routes passing through East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Council areas;
  • Collaborative working with partners, including road operators, Network Rail and community groups;
  • Communications activity to raise awareness of the scale and impact of roadside litter; and
  • A concerted effort to encourage everyone to ‘give your litter a lift, take it home’.

Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater said, "No single organisation can tackle the issue of roadside litter alone. Collaboration and partnership are critical, so it's great to see local authorities working together across boundaries to take this problem on.

“Later this year the Scottish Government will publish a National Litter and Flytipping Strategy, setting out a range of actions to tackle this problem behaviour. Ultimately, the best way to fix litter is to not drop it in the first place, and I would encourage all road users to “give your litter a lift, take it home!”

Barry Fisher, CEO of Keep Scotland Beautiful commented, “Roadside litter, like many antisocial behaviours, doesn’t stop at council boundaries, which is why we are pleased to be working with East Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire Councils to coordinate this fortnight of action.

“We welcome the willingness of councils, road operators and communities to tackle this significant issue, particularly on the back of such a difficult couple of years.

“This collaboration, the proposed new National Litter and Flytipping Strategy for Scotland and proposed changes in the Circular Economy Bill, that will see owners of a vehicle issued with a fine if litter is seen being thrown from their vehicle – a change which 88% of Scottish adults agreed with us that should happen – will all help us keep Scotland beautiful.

Cllr Ruairi Kelly, City Convener for Neighbourhood Services and Assets, said: “Roadside litter is often very visible and highlights the lack of care a minority of people have for our shared environment. This kind of litter is usually hard to reach due to the safety risk for staff and so a concerted effort is needed to have it removed. Our collaboration with North Lanarkshire Council is exactly the kind of initiative that is required to get the roadsides along our shared boundary back into good order. But ultimately if you are able to consume food and drink while on the move in your car then it’s not difficult to keep hold of your rubbish until you get home.”

“We all have the responsibility to keep our communities safe and clean, so we are supporting Keep Scotland Beautiful’s campaign to ‘Give your litter a lift’, said Councillor Helen Loughran, Convener of the Environment and Place Committee at North Lanarkshire Council. “Year after year the council spends vital resources removing litter from roadsides. Imagine that money being better spent boosting other local environmental improvement projects.

“Having pride in our community is all it takes. No one wants to live in an area hampered by the eyesore of litter. It's such a preventable blight on our environment and one with such a simple solution. All it takes is for people to stop dropping litter, put it in a bin or take it home. Simple actions that help keep North Lanarkshire clean.”

Following this fortnight of activity, we will be calling for everyone to Give your litter a lift, take it home!

If you want to take action to tackle litter or waste check out how you can get involved at www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/cleanupscotland

03 October 2022

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