The Highways Agency is calling on road users to help tackle roadside litter on England’s motorways and major A roads.

    The Agency estimates it removes nearly a quarter of a million sacks of litter from England’s motorways every year, but a roadside message campaign last summer reminding drivers to dispose of their litter responsibly saw a decrease in the amounts of litter collected on motorways in North West England and the East Midlands.

    Roads Minister Mike Penning said:

    “Litter is an unsightly and unnecessary burden and one that we can easily avoid – that’s why I am asking people to take one simple step towards make the roads a safer and more pleasant environment for everyone. The money and staff resources spent removing nearly a quarter of a million sacks of litter from England’s motorways could be far better spent elsewhere.

    “Following the ‘Bag it, Bin it!’ message is an easy way to reduce litter. If all drivers kept a bag in their vehicle to store rubbish and then disposed of it safely, it would be a really positive move in tackling roadside litter.”

    Roadside litter is not only unsightly, but is also a threat to the environment and wildlife and can block drains and cause flooding. For highway authorities, clearing litter diverts much-needed resources away from road maintenance and repairs, while items thrown from moving vehicles can be a hazard to other road users.

    The Highways Agency plans to repeat and extend its roadside message campaign during the build-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Agency will also look to work with Defra and Keep Britain Tidy to raise public awareness of the dangers and costs of litter, and ensure that England’s motorways and major roads are set to provide safe and pleasant journeys during the Games.