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London Borough of Greenwich (A102M – the Blackwall Tunnel Approach, A2, A20, A210 incl. Kidbrooke Interchange)

These roads are maintained by TfL in every respect other than cleansing which falls to the Borough. Here we are proposing responsibility for cleansing is passed to TfL

From: Sxxxx
To: Katie Jane Stevens
Subject: RE: A2 rubbish

I have been advised that this section is a slip road and we are in discussions with TfL about the cleaning of these areas along our stretch of the A2/A102.    Unfortunately it requires a co-ordinated approach with TfL and full road closures due to the speed of the road.     The A2 is a strategic road and arranging closure with TfL can take approximately 18 months.   We are at the early stages of these discussions and plan to arrange for the slip roads to be cleaned as soon as possible.
Waste and Street Services Royal Borough of Greenwich


Chichester City Council are one of several councils along the south coast who each have to clean their section of the A27 a Highways England  APTR  (All Purpose Trunk Road).  Chief Executive, Diane Shepherd says, in reference to my proposal :

I fully agree with this approach.  This would generate obvious logistical and financial efficiencies

She also said that  her council  does not receive any specific funding for cleaning their section the A27.  It would seem therefore that no adjustments in funding would be required.


Sean Lawson Head of Environmental Services at Rugby Borough Council, a member of the Warwickshire Waste Partnership, was questioned by Simon Danczuk MP in November 2014 at the Communities and Local Government Commons Select Committee hearing into Litter:

Q89 Simon Danczuk: ….How do you work with the Highways Agency in terms of ensuring that motorway trunk roads are kept clean?

Sean Lawson: We find it a nightmare

Simon Danczuk: Why is that?

Sean Lawson: It is because they do not communicate with us. They produce a wonderful glossy strategy document that says how they will work with local authorities, but we get very little engagement. We find that there is a road closure on by travelling down the road. We could have done a lot of work. We arrange with them to go out and do work when they have road closures on, and they don’t turn up. I have two or three crews out there at midnight waiting to clean a highway and they are not there.

Simon Danczuk: They are just wasting council tax payers’ money.

Sean Lawson: Yes


Here is a quote from Tendring District Council in reference to the A120, the strategic link into Harwich.

I can confirm that I have emailed and left voice messages with the highways contractor carrying out the roadworks along the A120 with the intention of litter picking the central reservation at night whilst the road closures were in place, our contractors have provided me with costs and manpower for the job. Unfortunately , despite several efforts I have not received any communication back and without their consent and permission our contractors can not carry out these works (6th Feb 2017)


This article from the Northampton Chronicle  shows (1)  just how  littered these roads can become  and (2) how poor the co-ordination between HE’s contractors and the council can be. The former coned off lanes to carry out tree cutting without making sure the council took the opportunity of removing the litter.

Guildford (A3)

In response to a complaint from Steve Collins Guildford Borough Council stated (11/01/2018)

‘As this is a high speed road it can only be cleaned when we have road closure in place. We have got closures booked for the A3 but we will not know the exact area that we can clean until the contractors tell us. The cleaning depends on a lot of factors but traffic count and weather are just two, we never know about these until the actual time and cleaning can be halted at any time.’

Stockton / A66

Article inNorthern Echo  Responsibility for cleansing this HE trunk road (APTR)  lies with the local authorities contrary to the statements made by the council.  The article demonstrates beautifully the problems of separating the responsibility for cleansing from other maintenance work.

Brighton / Lewes – A27

From Amanda Flude 25th March 2018 :   I drove the length of the A27 between Shoreham and Lewes yesterday and found the state of the verges quite distressing. It is the worst I have ever seen it…….. As mentioned below much of the debris has obviously been there for many months and has become tangled in the undergrowth; there is everything from old traffic cones and plastic sheeting, to bags of rubbish and general litter, what is so appalling is the sheer amount of rubbish!

North East Lincs

Tony Blake details his successful campaign to get the local authority to carry out their statutory duty to clean the A180. This Highways Agency road links Grimbsy with the M180. Action was taken only after threat of legal action and intervention of councillor. Read more here.

Evidence from other councils

Councils unaware of their responsibilities

Please refer to this post of 2014: Councils unaware of responsibility to clean trunk roads and motorway roundabouts


Peter Silverman
13th October 2018


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