Collecting Roadside Litter

February 2017 - Looking Forward

We've had a very successful winter so far in terms of clearing roadside litter. Compared to twelve months ago, the district's roadsides and verges are relatively free from litter; what we now need to do is ensure that we capitalise on this success and push it even further through spring and summer! We're working closely with our friends at AOne+ to put together a schedule of works, which will plan out all the upcoming opportunities to make the most of planned road or lane closures, and allow us to get the districts roads as clean as possible at the best value possible.

Stay tuned! We'll be updating this page with details of our schedule very soon! In the meantime, don't forget that it only takes a moment to report fly tipping or littering online...

25th November - Round Two of Verge-Cutting and Litter Picking

In the last week, our partners at AOne+ have begun cutting back the verges overnight along the A27 Eastbound. This much-needed trimming of the vegetation is another great opportunity for Lewes District Council, as we are able to piggy-back on the lane closures Highways England and AOne+ have in place, at no further cost to the taxpayer. We are taking full advantage of this opportunity, and we've had crews out alongside AOne+ operatives, clearing litter from the freshly cut verges.

Next week, we'll be targeting the stretch between the Kingston roundabout and the Cuilfail roundabout!

Roadside litter is a blight on our countryside, and whilst we are doing all we can to clear up the litter, a better solution is to tackle the core of the problem - those few individuals who choose to discard their rubbish without regard for others or the environment. Littering is an offence - if you witness someone littering, please do your part and report it to us! You can report littering online in just a few clicks, or if you prefer you can call us on 01273 471600, or write to us, or pop in and see us! Our address is at the bottom of the page.

31st October - Cutting Back Verges and Picking Up Litter

Nobody wants to see rubbish littering our roads and verges, and we've been working hard over the last six months to put processes in place to avoid this happening again. Earlier in the year Highways England and their appointed contractor Balfour Beatty had refused to allow any local authority to work independently or in collaboration with works they were carrying out - this meant we couldn't access the roads to clear the litter, and we had no choice but to spend public money to have Balfour Beatty clear the litter for us. Since then, Highways England have appointed a new contractor, AOne+, who are allowing us to take advantage of their planned works to carry our litter clearances at the same time.

Full grass cutting will be taking place along the A27 Westbound overnight tonight, tomorrow night, and Wednesday night, and we will be collecting litter at the same time as the grass is being cut, with the Eastbound carriageway scheduled for around three weeks' time. Due to the extremely high costs of planning and implementing road or lane closures in operations like this, it is unlikely that we will be able to carry out litter clearances independently. Working collaboratively with Highways England and AOne+ makes a lot more sense because we can utilise vehicles, crews, and training in a much more cost effective way, we'll be looking to work with AOne+ wherever possible.

Combating Roadside Litter - Can You Help?

Waste crimes, including littering and fly-tipping are amongst the most anti-social aspects of life within the community, and Lewes District Council continues to take them extremely seriously. We have had great success using the investigation and identification of suspects and offenders as tools in the fight to reduce waste crime offences. Where we are able to gather sufficient strong evidence regarding waste crimes we always seek to hold those responsible to account, and our enforcement officers work hard to make this happen wherever possible.

If you witness someone fly-tipping rubbish, or see a vehicle with an unsecured load from which litter is escaping, please let us know about it so that we can investigate! The most important bits of information we need from you are the date, time, and location of the offence, as well as whatever details you can give us regarding the person or company responsible – this could include a vehicle number plate and/or a photograph of the vehicle or the offence.

The easiest way to tell us about a waste crime offence, and send us all the info we need is online: report fly-tipping or report littering, but you could also call us on the phone, or pop in and see us if you prefer – our address and phone number are at the bottom of the page.

UPDATE 31st May – Overnight Clearances Finished along A26 and A27

The A26 and A27 are looking much better now that Balfour Beatty have finished the last bits of their overnight clearance work for us. In total they collected 291 black bin bags full of litter – that’s enough to fill four regular (8 cubic yard) skips with some to spare, and that’s not even including all the things which were too big for bin bags, like tyres, bumpers and even old furniture!

This one-off clearance isn’t going to keep the roadsides clean forever, so with that in mind we're working with Highways England, as well as other neighbouring authorities who are also affected by this issue. Together we are figuring out how to implement the correct training, equipment, risk assessments etc. which need to be in place for our crews to carry on with safe litter picking along these sections of road in the future.

UPDATE 12th May - Overnight Litter Picking Almost Complete

Balfour Beatty have now almost completed their litter clearing work for us - the last section to be done (the A27 around the bridge works at the Falmer junction) is scheduled to be completed by the weekend. Balfour Beatty have done a great job clearing the litter from the sides of A26 and A27 over the last few weeks, collecting almost three hundred black sacks full of rubbish plus loads of other bulky items like tyres, bumpers, and garden chairs - and it's made a huge improvement. We know it's not a permanent fix though, and we are working closely with local authorities from across Sussex as well as Highways England, focussing on how we can get everything in place as quickly as possible to enable our crews to conduct safe litter picking along these sections of road.

Can you help us tackle the problem of roadside litter? If you witness an offence, let us know so that we can investigate! Send us a message or call us on the number at the bottom of the page, with the date, time and location of the offence as well as the registration number of the vehicle involved and any photos or other evidence you can offer.

UPDATE 3rd May – Overnight Clearances Begin Along A26

Balfour Beatty have now finished their litter picking along the A27 and as of tonight they will be working on the A26. This will be for the next five nights, and will clear the build-up of litter on the sections of road which are too hazardous for us to access. We are looking forward to getting this litter cleared but we know this isn't a permanent solution, so we're organising the necessary training, equipment and risk assessments necessary for our crew to carry on with safe litter picking along these sections of road in the future.

UPDATE 18th April - Overnight Clearances Start Now!

We have engaged Balfour Beatty to carry out overnight litter picking on the A27 (from Falmer to Middle Farm and back) and on the A26 (from the Beddingham roundabout to Newhaven and back). This will take place over 13 nights starting Monday 18th April, and will clear the build-up of litter on the sections of road which are too hazardous for us to access, starting with the A27 and then moving onto the A26. We are looking forward to getting this litter cleared but we know this isn't a permanent solution, so we're organising the necessary training, equipment and risk assessments necessary for our crew to carry on with safe litter picking along these sections of road in the future.

UPDATE 12th April - Tackling the Problem at Source

Ideally it wouldn't be necessary to carry out litter picking because we would all tidy up after ourselves. Of course the majority of us do exactly that, but there are a minority of people who let us down, and Lewes District Council will take action against those people wherever possible.

At around 9am on Tuesday 29th March a 'Skip It' vehicle headed northbound on the A26 didn't have its protective net fitted correctly, and litter was escaping onto the highway and verges. A concerned resident reported this to us, and our enforcement team started their investigation. As a result of the information the witness gave us, we were able to issue a fixed penalty notice to the company responsible (which they have now paid in full).

We encourage you to report littering to us so that we can hold those responsible to account for their actions. If you can help us with this, send us a message or call us on the number at the bottom of the page, with the date, time and location of the offence as well as the registration number of the vehicle involved and any other evidence you can offer.

Roadside Litter Collections

Collecting litter from the sides of roads, especially high-speed roads, can be a hazardous task - even more so where there’s no footpath and only a steep or narrow verge. Following a number of accidents and near misses across the country during roadside litter picking, we and other neighbouring authorities have had to suspend our usual litter picking on sections of road where there's no safe roadside working area. This is in line with nation-wide guidance issued by the Department for Transport and national health and safety bodies, in order that we can keep our crews safe while they work to keep our district clean.

We are continuing to collect litter as normal from the vast majority of roadsides across the district, and we are reviewing the way we work on the hazardous sections of road where we cannot currently perform our usual collections. A lot of the time, a full lane or road closure is the only option, but this can cause significant disruption to the public as well as costing thousands of pounds for even a small section of highway. With this in mind, in early April safety officers and waste managers from local authorities across Sussex will meet to discuss the safety concerns around roadside litter collection, to figure out ways of working which can help all the authorities affected by this issue to keep our roads clean, our crews safe, and costs to taxpayers down.

A27 Eastbound

We usually cover the A27 from Falmer to Beddingham on Tuesdays, and from Beddingham to Middle Farm on Wednesdays. Thanks to the cycle lane and footpath, we are able to clear litter from the majority of this section of roadside, but unfortunately not all of it. We engaged Balfour Beatty to carry out overnight litter clearance along the sections which are too hazardous for us to access. This took place over the course of a couple of weeks in late April and early May. This really helped cut down the amount of roadside litter, but we know it isn’t a permanent solution, so we are also figuring out what revised training, vehicles, and procedures we will need to put in place so that we can take up litter clearance safely afterwards.

Our crew out clearing litter from one of the safe sections of the A27 over the last couple of weeks
Rubbish clearance on a safe section of the A27 Eastbound

A27 Westbound

We usually cover the A27 from Middle Farm to Beddingham on Thursdays, and from Beddingham to Falmer on Fridays. There are several areas along here where it's too hazardous to carry out our usual litter picking, especially between Kingston and Falmer, so we engaged Balfour Beatty to carry out overnight litter clearance along the sections which are too hazardous for us to access. This took place over the course of a couple of weeks in late April and early May. This really helped cut down the amount of roadside litter, but we know it isn’t a permanent solution, so we are also figuring out what revised training, vehicles, and procedures we will need to put in place so that we can take up litter clearance safely afterwards.

A26

We are able to access some sections of the A26 to clear litter, but a lot of it is too hazardous for us to carry out our usual litter picking. We engaged Balfour Beatty to carry out overnight litter clearance along the sections which are too hazardous for us to access. This took place over the course of a couple of weeks in late April and early May. This really helped cut down the amount of roadside litter, but we know it isn’t a permanent solution, so we are also figuring out what revised training, vehicles, and procedures we will need to put in place so that we can take up litter clearance safely afterwards.

Roadside rubbish clearance on the A26 near the Beddingham roundabout
Rubbish clearance on a safe section of the A26

C7

There are some sections of the C7 which are safe for us to collect litter from, especially around lay-bys, but the majority is too hazardous for our crews to collect from as usual. We are co-ordinating with East Sussex Highways and private contractors in order to take advantage of planned closures, as well as assessing whether we’d be able to collect from more of the C7 at certain times or with additional safety measures in place. We will update this page with more information, and with expected dates, as soon as we know.