06:00 16 May 2022
Litter piling up along major roads could give visitors the impression that Suffolk is a “dirty county”, fear tourism chiefs and litter campaigners.
With the vital summer tourist season fast approaching, there are fears the unsightly mess could have an economic impact on businesses that rely on the holiday trade, especially if people are put off.
The shoulders along the A14 and A12 are littered with discarded rubbish, adding to a long-standing problem with motorists choosing to dump their food and drink cartons and other rubbish on the edge of the road. road.
A litter campaigner, tourism body and district councils are calling on all people to take more responsibility for their mess.
Jason Alexander, founder of social enterprise Rubbish Walks, said: “It’s a problem that’s been around for a long time, but because it’s been around for a long time, it’s being added every day.”
He said litter pickers find it ‘frustrating’ to tidy up an area and then find more litter has been dumped after cleaning, adding that a lot of work is being done by the Rubbish Walks and conservation organizations to try to educate the public on the importance of not littering.
“I think wherever you go. The more litter you see, the more it makes the area look unmaintained,” he said.
“It’s obviously a big problem and as litter builds up along the highways you can’t help but notice it and I think it will have a negative effect on people visiting the area because, while travel to Suffolk, there is already a preconceived idea that this area is untended.
“So when they get to their destination, they come in feeling like it’s a dirty country.”
Annie Willey, brand manager of tourist guide The Suffolk Coast, echoed Mr Alexander’s concerns.
She said: “First impressions count and of course any litter of any kind creates a negative impact on tourism.”
Although local authorities and littering groups dispose of the litter, the ultimate responsibility lies with the individual not to dispose of the litter in the first place, she added.
“I think it’s really important to say that people need to stop letting him down in the first place. This is something people need to address. They need to stop being so selfish,” Ms Willey said.
District and borough councils are responsible for cleaning up waste along with other agencies, and they agree that waste is not only unsightly and dangerous, it also gives visitors and investors a bad impression.
They say littering is a criminal offense and anyone who drops rubbish – including from a vehicle – is committing a crime and can be fined up to £2,500.
A spokesperson said: “Anyone who sees a crime being committed should report it as soon as they are sure to do so, including the date and time, location, what was littered and any license plate number of the vehicle and we will investigate and prosecute wherever we are able.
“Any dash cam footage they might have can also help. Gathering the evidence needed to prove there is trash is difficult, especially by a standard to secure a conviction.
“Cleaning up trash from major thoroughfares in the county requires close cooperation from multiple agencies.
“This includes neighboring district authorities, Highways England and Suffolk Highways and we are working together where possible to reduce cost to the taxpayer and inconvenience to motorists due to any necessary traffic management.”
“Special teams are put in place, but it is very dangerous work and can only be done at certain times. This means that cleaning the shoulders of major roads can sometimes take longer than the street cleaning programs in our cities and towns, but we are not prepared to put our teams at risk.
James Suckling, National Highways Service Delivery Manager, said: “Millions of people travel on our network every day and despite our best efforts to keep the roads clean, they can quickly become littered with litter from vehicles and debris. unsecured loads.
He added that the authority was working with local authorities to solve the waste problem.
“Litter on our roads can pose a hazard to drivers, our workers and wildlife. If people didn’t drop trash from their vehicles in the first place, it wouldn’t need to be picked up. We urge people to think twice before throwing it out of their car window and bringing it home,” Mr Suckling said.