Lewes District Council is to call on Highways England to take over the responsibility for clearing litter from the A26 and A27.
At a full council meeting on Monday (February 25), Lewes councillors backed a motion calling on the council to seek for the responsibility for clearing litter from the side of the road to be transferred to Highways England.
The motion was put forward by Cllr Isabelle Linington, the council’s lead member for environmental impact.
Cllr Linington said: “It is a huge problem and is very difficult to deal with.
“We have a limited budget for the for the whole year in the district for clearing all the litter. If we were to do justice to the A26 and A27, we would have to do many more picks there and it would take virtually half our total budget.
“The other problem is staff can only operate there safely when the road is completely shut and again that can only be done a couple of times a year, when the road is shut for other people. For us to be able to shut it ourselves would be immensely expensive.
“In other parts of the country there have been some places where [the responsibility for] these important main roads have been transferred to Highways England.
“I don’t know whether this motion will work but I felt that if we can get the whole council behind it then it adds a bit more weight. [If supported] I intend on writing to the secretary of state to try and get this road transferred for the purposes of litter collecting.”
The motion received broad support from other councillors, being seconded by Liberal Democrat councillor Vic Ient.
Cllr Ient (Kingston) said: “I am very pleased to second this motion, partly because in my ward I have a number of parishes which are cut through by the A27.
“We have volunteers who I have to hold back from walking along the A27 and doing litter picks themselves – a highly dangerous exercise.
“This is a well-timed motion because as in March the Great Spring Clean Up, led by Keep Britain Tidy, is going to be held and will hopefully will bring a greater awareness from everybody about the importance of not throwing litter down.
“This is just plain common sense. We can’t send our men out on busy trunk roads.
“The roads are controlled by Highways England and they have a contractor who knows the dates they will close the road for various maintenance work so it is common sense to do it when they are there.”
Cllr Ient also spoke about occasions when litter picks had to be cancelled because of last minute changes to road closure dates.
Councillors also requested that Cllr Linington write to local MPs and parish councils asking them to support the motions.