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Scotland takes coordinated action on roadside litter

Nearly 9,000 people from 100 different groups across 27 local authority areas have taken part in a national Week of Action on roadside litter, urging road users to give their litter a lift, and take it home.

The coordinated week of action took place 12-20 May, inviting people across the country to sign up in order to show support for the campaign and raise awareness of the blight of roadside litter. This need for action comes as new data shows that litter levels across Scotland are at their worst in a decade.

The Week kicked off with the joint announcement of support from Costa and McDonald’s  who will carry the campaign at their drive thru restaurants. This is an exciting development that will help us to directly target some of those eating and drinking on the road, reminding them to be responsible with their litter. Scotland’s first National Park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs also used the Week to announce their support and will be targeting visitors with campaign materials and messaging as we approach the peak Summer season.

Everyone has been taking action during the week, with 115 roadside related Clean Ups and thousands of people helping us to spread the campaign message to ‘Give your litter a lift, take it home’ . Recognising the significant role that young people play in tackling environmental issues, we invited schools across the country to use our classroom resource and enter our roadside litter caption competition, which ran over the Week. With nearly 70 schools taking part, we have been extremely impressed with all of the ‘give your litter a lift’ messages that pupils have created. The winning entries, voted by members of the public through social media, will be incorporated into campaign messaging going forward.

A big focus of the Week was on raising the profile of the real and staggering scale of the roadside litter problem, and of the work that is involved in cleaning it up. Over half of Scottish local authorities joined us in doing this, as well as our road operating partners,  showcasing their regular road verge cleansing operations and reporting on amounts lifted during the week. In the South-East, AMEY collected 72 bags of litter from a stretch of the Edinburgh City Bypass in a single day. In the central belt, BEAR collected 52 bags of litter from one M80 junction in under a week, requiring 30 hours of work. Scotland Transerv reported that they have collected a total of 112 tonnes of litter from South-West Scotland in 2017/18, up from 98 tonnes in 2016/17.

Support for the campaign has also come from MSPs, with a roundtable briefing taking place at the Scottish Parliament during the Week. We are calling for an improvement to current legislation on littering from vehicles as laid out in the national litter strategy Towards a Litter-free Scotland.

The Week of Action has been a great opportunity to galvanise support and give anyone who is affected by roadside litter the opportunity to do something about it. Going forward, we will build on this momentum, as it is crucial that we continue to spread the message and urge road users to take personal responsibility for their own litter. Our campaign resources will be available for all to use and we will continue to work in partnership with Transport Scotland, Zero Waste Scotland, VisitScotland, road operating companies and local authorities to address the issue. As new supporters join the campaign and developments unfold, you can keep up to date on our website and social media channels.

24 May 2018

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