A toilet, cooker and part of a boat are some of the bizarre items that have been dumped on the A30 as Cornwall Council urges motorists to bin or take their rubbish home. I spotted a mattress in a layby off the A39 by the West Country Inn the other day, but it seems the A30, the fastest route into Cornwall has more litter problems than the A39.
The Council’s waste collection service Biffa collects 10 tonnes of litter from roadsides and verges along the high-speed route each year – enough to fill two double-decker buses.
Most common among the discarded items are fast food packaging, takeaway cups and plastic drinks bottles (which people also dispose of from their cars on country lanes) but there have also been dozens of mobile phones and large items such as electrical appliances and furniture.
Motorists or their passengers can be fined £150 for throwing rubbish from car windows or dumping it in a layby but they never seem to be because no one sees them.
Every year Highways England and local councils spend hundreds of millions of pounds clearing litter from roadsides and verges. We have to question hat kind of mentality throws litter around.
Not only is roadside litter an eyesore, picking it up – especially on high-speed roads such as the A30, A38 and A39 – means that the workforce is exposed to unnecessary and avoidable danger. It can also be a danger to other road users and to wildlife.
Cabinet portfolio holder for environment and public protection Sue James said: “While the majority of people act responsibly and help keep our roadsides clear of litter, it is hard to understand the mentality of people throwing rubbish from their cars while travelling through such beautiful countryside.
“Not only is it an eyesore and damaging to wildlife it means our waste collection team are having to collect litter alongside a road where drivers are travelling at speeds of 70 miles an hour. It also costs money that could be spent elsewhere.
“Please just take your rubbish home and keep our countryside looking beautiful.”
Dropping litter is a criminal offence under Section 87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and authorised officers can currently issue fixed penalty notices of £150 for littering offences.
Failure to pay may result in a prosecution before a Magistrates Court where the maximum fine is currently £2,500. Recent changes to the law mean that litter penalties can be applied to vehicle owners if it can be proved the rubbish was thrown from their car, van or lorry, even if was discarded by a passenger.
Wherever possible the Council investigates reported offences with a view to taking action against offenders to reduce the level of environmental crime.
People can report littering they witness in their community at www.cornwall.gov.uk/reportit so the Council can investigate and take action where possible.
Councillor James added: “Our first message is don’t litter, but we also rely on members of the public spotting litter being discarded and contacting us with information so we can catch those responsible.” If you see it happening, report it!