Wellingborough Council has collected more than 800 bags of litter from 23 miles of the A45 in a clean up that took place over the four nights of 21-24 March.
In order to comply with health and safety requirements, the high-speed road could only be litter picked with a rolling road closure in place. Ten staff completed the night-time operation, which covered the nine miles of roadside both eastbound and westbound from Wellingborough to Ecton Brook, as well as five miles of central reservation. The litter was mostly drink bottles, cans, crisp packets, chocolate wrappers, polythene bags, hub caps and packaging sheets, which had either been thrown from cars or blown from unsheeted lorries. The litter was bagged up and placed in nearby lay-bys to be picked up by the council's refuse teams the following day.
John Casserly, the council's head of environment said: "The litter on the A45 had reached an unacceptable level, and we know that clearing it up was a priority for residents. We're really pleased with the results and also the way in which different organisations planned and worked together to make it happen. Ideally, if we had been able to afford closing the road for longer than four nights, we would have cleared more of the central reservation, but it was still a highly successful operation.
"We would like to do this more often than once a year, but the cost and complexity of the litter pick makes this difficult. We are talking with the traffic authority to see if we can work in tandem with them when they close the road for maintenance or grass cutting, and we have identified a limited number of areas along the roadside where it is safe to clean without a road closure. We also run high-profile anti-litter campaigns, such as our recent 'no excuses' campaign which helped to highlight the problems associated with throwing litter from vehicles, but we accept that not all of the litter on the A45 is thrown by local residents. For that reason, we are also talking to the Highways Agency to see about better enforcement and surveillance so that we are able to prosecute these people that are ruining our environment."
The total cost of the A45 litter pick, including the road closure and staffing, was £15,000.