Council calls for significant change in bid to clean up the A27 and A23

National Highways must take responsibility for cleaning the A23 and A27 - this is the call by the leader of Brighton and Hove Council.

Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty has spoken out against the ‘eyesore’ created by the large amount of litter left at the side of the key roads following an increase in complaints.

He is calling for National Highways to accept responsibility cleaning these main routes into and out of the city.

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Councillor Mac Cafferty said: “At present the two main routes both into and out of the city are an eyesore with the amount of litter and debris strewn around.

Cllr Phelim Mac Cafferty has said National Highways should take responsibility for clearing up litter on the A23 and A27

“So I’ve written to government ministers, calling for the responsibility to clean the verges of the highways in the city to sit with National Highways and their contractors.

“This follows a significant increase in roadside litter- everything from household rubbish to loads on vehicles that have come loose.

“At present, sadly, we have no control arranging access to the highways and we’re not seen as a priority. This doesn’t make sense and makes it very difficult and costly to clean the verges.

“National Highways could factor this into their existing work schedules and make efficiencies by timing the cleaning at the same time.

“That would make the operation much smoother and keep the verges cleaner.

“Given the concerning state of littering of the A23 and A27 and the impact this has on the well-being of local communities, our environment, as well as tourism, I have asked the Secretary of State for Transport to transfer responsibility to National Highways as a matter of urgency.”

The A27 is a national trunk road owned by National Highways, which is responsible for the maintenance of the road, and the cleaning and management of the central reservations.

Under current arrangements, the council is responsible for removing litter while National Highways is responsible for cutting back the vegetation and strimming the grass.

Councils receive no funding for clearing verges and have to pay National Highway’s contractors for the necessary road closures as well as co-ordinate with National Highway’s contractors for litter picks to take place during other maintenance work.

If verges are strimmed before a litter pick, the shredded litter and plastic becomes too small to collect and becomes embedded in the soil, affecting surrounding wildlife and flora but also the water table and later the sea.

When asked about the litter build up along these roads Anup Shrestha, National Highways service delivery manager, said: “Responsibility for litter picking currently sits with the local authority, and it would require new legislation to change this.

“However, we do work closely with councils to help their litter operatives best utilise any traffic management we have in place.

“This allows them to safely go onto the road while vehicles are travelling at a reduced speed. We do help local authorities access the network and send in our own teams to litter pick when the opportunity arises if we are working on the network.

“However, if people didn't drop litter from their vehicles in the first place it wouldn't need to be picked up. We urge people to think twice before tossing litter out of their car windows and take it home instead."