Teignbridge is streets ahead in clearing roadside litter

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Teignbridge District Council has ‘bin’ doing a good job of reducing and clearing roadside litter.

The council has won praise from a Government Ministry for its success in delivering consistently clean roadsides on major roads in the district.

So impressed were national officials with Teignbridge’s performance that they asked the council to share examples of its best ideas to help improve the situation in other local authority areas.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was commenting on the results of a survey carried out on the strategic road network in the district where management responsibility is split between local councils and Highways England.

In the survey, carried out by Keep Britain Tidy, Teignbridge’s contribution was judged on a national code of practice and achieved a consistent score of B or above in two separate visits.

DEFRA praised Teignbridge for its success and asked the council to provide details of its approach to litter-picking, how this works on the ground and to highlight any special initiatives it has employed to improve roadside cleanliness or deter litter louts.

In a letter to Teignbridge Council, DEFRA’s Deputy Director of Resource and Waste says: “Congratulations on maintaining a consistently high standard of roadside cleanliness. We want to understand how this is achieved, so that we can support others to reach the same standard”.
The letter adds that feedback from Teignbridge will also help to identify the best way to overcome any practical barriers to keeping roadsides clear of litter.

Teignbridge uses its own staff to clear roadside litter, either on regular visits or reacting to reports of problems, using a mix of mechanical or manual methods. The council does not have the resources to close roads or lanes to clear dual carriageways. So it ‘piggy-backs’ on road closures implemented by Devon County Council or Highways England, to ensure the safety of its litter pickers.

In addition to practical clearance measures, Teignbridge also runs an anti-littering campaign focused on fining drivers who throw litter from cars and has increased the number of litter bins in lay-bys beside major roads.

Cllr Alistair Dewhirst, Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “We can be very pleased with our record on showing people who drive along major routes in Teignbridge the pride we take in the tidy state of our roadsides. Some drivers are locals, whilst others are passing through, but a clean environment in laybys and roadsides is good for the district’s appeal as a place to live in or to visit.

“There is more to be done to improve the way we handle this issue, but it’s very heartening to receive national recognition for our efforts, based on real evidence”.

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