The motto ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ appears to be a road sign lost on some drivers.

Every year, around 30 million tons of litter are dropped in the UK. That is an estimated increase of 500% since the sixties according to Keep Britain Tidy. Admittedly the population size has increased, along with travel. However, it seems drivers have a lack of personal awareness of social and community responsibilities.

Fly-tipping has reached unprecedented levels in the UK. This is being highlighted in a new Highways England video.

Wrong turning

Police dispatched to the Staffordshire location on the M6. They intercept the offenders and escort them back to the emergency area where they’d dumped the rubbish and are forced to clean it up.

“This was a blatant and reckless abuse of one of our designated emergency areas which are there to help people in the event of just that, an emergency.”

Frank Bird is Highways England’s senior network planner.

“The whole incident unfolded on our CCTV system in our control room. We then quickly passed it to the police who were able to stop the vehicle and escort them safely back to the emergency area to tidy up their mess.

“We continue to work closely with our police colleagues who enforce issues like this and we’d remind people to take their litter home and dispose of it safely.”

Such culprits receive a stern word or two, and have their details taken and forwarded to Environmental Health officers where they are placed on record.

The slip road

This incident is a timely reminder about the dangers of littering, not least the environmental damage. Such actions also put Highways England’s workforce at risk when they have to go out and collect it.

The amount of rubbish being illegally dumped across England is rising. Yet most fly-tippers are still getting away with the crime.

Figures published by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show there were 975,631 incidents of fly-tipping recorded across the country in 2019/20 – nearly two every minute.

Highways England is calling on drivers to ‘be part of the pick’. Join the ‘Great British Spring Clean’ that is currently running.

During last year’s campaign, Highways England collected 12,000 bags of litter from the network.