Agenda item

Litter on trunk roads


We received an update regarding existing provision for cleansing the trunk road network in light of a forthcoming litter strategy.  The Authority is developing a litter strategy which will be scrutinised by the appropriate Select Committee, in due course.


The Committee was informed that over the last five years there has been an increase in complaints regarding litter along the main arterial routes through Monmouthshire in line with the rise in popularity and distribution in number of “on the go” food and drinks outlets.


Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 the responsibility for keeping the highways clear of litter is Monmouthshire County Council. Trunk roads have remained an area that is not as clear as it could be and most local authority cleansing departments rely on SWTRA maintenance schedules to provide the cleansing service. SWTRA is the responsible body for the maintenance of the majority of arterial routes running through Monmouthshire.


The A465, A40, A48 and A4042 have historically been maintained by SWTRA including litter picking prior to grass cuts and safety cuts. The trunk road verges were mown several times per year for maintenance and SWTRA was committed to cleansing prior to mowing. In recent years the reduction in budgets in Welsh Government to SWTRA and the drive to increase biodiversity along the trunk road network, the mowing regime has been reduced to one full cut and one safety cut per year.


A reduction in mowing schedules to increase verge-side biodiversity and reduce maintenance budgets means litter build-up is greater between cuts and winter die-back exacerbates the issues further. The trunk road network does not have the monopoly on this issue and there has been a substantial increase in roadside litter along the B4246 and B4269. The cleansing of the verges between cuts has fallen to local authorities.


SWTRA is supporting the Council in keeping the trunk road network clean but budget pressure means that it is looking at ways of reducing costs. The removal of litter bins and the re-designation of lay-bys is causing concerns for local authorities. That said, the deployment of litter bins in lay-bys can cause as many issues as they solve and in many cases create more litter than they collect. The disposal of domestic waste and fly-tipping have been seen in laybys where bins are present and not in adjacent lay-bys.


The Authority will continue to keep the network clean but budget pressures and agreements for road closures are a constant challenge.


The Authority is working with litter groups to tackle litter through community clean-ups and more recently, a proactive approach and promotions campaign is being discussed. A recent survey indicated that proactive campaigns with increased enforcement is widely supported by residents.


Having received the report, the following points were noted:


·         SWTRA contracts the County Council to undertake maintenance work and maintain the road network.


·         The Welsh Government litter policy has not been updated in five years.  It was noted that Welsh Government was waiting until after Brexit before reviewing this policy.


·         Litter champions are keen to provide their support.


We resolved to receive the report and noted its content.



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