12 March 2012
Roadside litter will give Olympic tourists a bad impression of Britain
Roadside litter will give Olympic tourists a bad impression of Britain, according to 94% of AA members in an AA/Populus poll of 8,800 drivers.
AA President, Edmund King, attended a Government Roundtable litter summit in March where Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, also called for litter action prior to the Games. AA Streetwatch volunteers and staff will conduct a 'big litter pick' before the games.
The spring and summer holiday usually brings with it an increase in roadside litter – often thrown from cars. The Highways Agency is responsible for trunk roads and motorways which see the equivalent of 700,000 bags of rubbish being dumped each year. More than £880 million is spent on clearing litter from local streets each year.
A previous poll from Keep Britain Tidy claimed that an astonishing 35% admitted to dropping litter from their vehicle on that day alone and 42% in the past week. The most likely culprit would be a male smoker aged under 25 with low educational attainment. Sixty seven per cent of commercial vehicle drivers had littered in the last week, according to this survey.
London is soon to introduce legislation that would enable boroughs to issue penalty notices against the registered keepers of vehicles from which litter is thrown. If the pilot is successful these powers could be extended elsewhere, according to the Environment Secretary.
Under current legislation, individuals can be issued with a £50-£80 fixed penalty or be fined up to £2,500.
litter strewn highways and byways will give tourists a bad impression at the Games so we are pleading with all drivers to stop their drive-by tossing
Edmund King, AA president
Commenting, Edmund King, AA President, said: “Drivers agree that our litter strewn highways and byways will give tourists a bad impression at the Games so we are pleading with all drivers to stop their drive-by tossing. Drive-by litter louts deserve to be targeted and fined.
" Four fifths of AA members claim to be angry at roadside littering but most are adamant they are not the cause of litter themselves – with only 8% admitting 'litter guilt'. Whoever is to blame there is no excuse for being a roadside 'litter lout' whose actions can cause a danger to other road users and also to those who have to clear up after them.
“AA Streetwatch volunteers and staff will be conducting The AA Streetwatch big litter pick collection in May to help clear up our streets.”
Volunteers can register their interest in helping with AA Streetwatch The big litter pick to be run from 12 May to 25 May at www.aastreetwatch.com
The results show that:
For the Highways Agency, litter is not only unsightly but also a threat to the environment. Clearing rubbish puts road workers at risk of injury and diverts resources away from road maintenance and repairs.