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Graham Dalton, Highways Agency CEO quizzed about motorway litter at Transport Committee hearing

Graham DaltonGraham Dalton, Chief Executive, Highways Agency was questioned, albeit briefly, by Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Commons Select Transport Committee, on 24th February 2014.

She asked if enough attention was given to dealing with litter, and was it an issue he was aware of.

He said he was aware of an issue. “We are being pursued fairly regularly by some people – one or two people fairly regularly” – who could he have meant?  He went on to say:

“It costs 40 (inaudible) per bag and we pick up 200,000 bags a year and that’s a lot of litter…It is expensive to do and can be dangerous for road workers to pick it up. So its about finding a balance. I do not want to just throw lots of extra money at having a slightly tidier network. I would quite like to spend the money on discouraging people from dropping it in the first place.”

Critique of Graham Dalton’s response

We,  myself and Andrew Gwynne MP, the one or two people he is presumably referring to,  are not asking the Highways Agency to spend more money on litter picking but to get value for the money they already pay their service providers to litter pick the motorway verges.

The service providers have the means to put in proper safety measures (e.g. blocking vehicles) to protect their workers. If necessary lanes can be closed at night for litter picking. There is no balance to be struck between safety and litter. Its a red herring.

Saying how much litter is picked per annum is all very well. But how long, on average, is it left in situ before it is picked?

I put these points in an  e-mail to Lousise Ellman.  Andrew Edgington’s has written to his MP along similar lines asking him to pass on his concerns to Mrs Ellman.

There is a  video of the hearing which also includes evidence given by Robert Goodwill, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Transport and Paul O’Sullivan, Deputy Director, Strategic Roads, Department for Transport.

All posts on Transport Committee

Peter Silverman
25th February 2014


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