Dorset Waste Partnership joins fight against roadside litter

DORSET Waste Partnership (DWP) is doing what it can in the fight against roadside litter, but it needs your help.

This is the time of year that DWP receives the most complaints about litter on verges and at the roadside. As the vegetation is cut back by both public and private landowners, the litter that has accumulated in bushes, shrubs and long grass becomes an eyesore.

Roads operated by Highways England can look particularly scruffy at times.

While DWP clean most busy roads regularly throughout the year, it also organises litter picking on the worst affected areas around late winter and early spring, prioritised according to levels of litter.

Last year, similar work in February and March costed Dorset tax-payers about £40,000.

Picking on high-speed roads requires a great deal of planning. DWP must apply for a Traffic Regulation Order four to six weeks in advance to ensure it can implement the appropriate safety measures to protect staff.

DWP typically litter picks at the roadside with teams of up to 12 staff between 9.30am and 3.30pm to avoid peak traffic times – just setting up can take hours. On some roads such as the A31, it is required to use approved contractors to provide traffic management.

The partnership often litter-picks overnight when traffic is at a minimum or when it can close the roads entirely. It also needs to get permission from Highways England to work on the road overnight, which can be revoked at late notice if affected by accidents and incidents.

If the DWP know about planned closures for road maintenance, it will try and litter pick at the same time. It also co-ordinates with grass verge cutting contractors where possible.

A spokesperson for DWP said: “Perhaps our biggest frustration is that, despite our efforts, some roads become covered in litter again just weeks later, often leading to the assumption that litter picking hasn’t been done.

“The bottom line is that there wouldn’t be a problem if some people didn’t throw their litter out of cars in the first place.

“DWP is supporting Litter Free Dorset’s ‘Don’t be a TOS53R’ campaign, which has been designed to send a hard-hitting message to drivers and their passengers that our roads are not one giant litter bin and that the owner of a vehicle can be fined up to £100 if rubbish is seen being thrown out of a car window.”

Councillor Tony Alford, chairman of the Dorset Waste Partnership’s Joint Committee, added: “We would like to thank the majority of Dorset motorists and passengers who take their rubbish home and dispose of it properly using their household bins.

“But the responsibility for this mess at the roadside lies with the minority who think it is acceptable to throw rubbish from their vehicles.

“While DWP has an important duty to clear up litter, roadside litter-picking takes resources and money away from essential services. If you spot litter being thrown from a vehicle, please let us know.

“Together, we can help stamp out this anti-social behaviour.”

Roadside litter can be reported to the Dorset Waste Partnership’s Enforcement Team at www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/litter

You can find out more about Litter Free Dorset’s ‘Don’t be a TOS53R’ campaign at www.litterfreedorset.co.uk/current-projects-and-campaigns/dont-be-a-tos53r/

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