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Litter Statistics

On December 17, 2010, in Highways Agency, M25, M40, by PeterSilverman

How much litter is deposited each day on our motorways each day.

M40 London end (J1)to High Wycombe((J4) Nov 2009 to Aug  2010

1,389 bags were collected over this 10 month period
Distance 31 kms x 2 sides = 62 kms of verge

Therefore bags deposited per km of verge per day = (1389 / (10 x 30) ) / 62 = 0.075 bags per day per km

M25 J 10 to J12 July to Oct 2010

203 bags were collected over 4 months (123 days)
Distance 11 kms x 2 sides = 22 kms of verge

Therefore bags deposited per km of verge per day = (203 / 123 )/22 = 0.075 bags per day per km

It is fortuitous that the figures come out the same and 0.075 bags per day per km should be regarded as a ball park figure

Whole HA Network

A Highways Agency press release puts the number of bags collected from its network per annum as 700,000.
The network is 7,754 kms long

Therefore bags deposited  per km of verge per day = (700,000 / 365 )/ (7,754 x 2) = 0.123 bags per day per km

The figures for the M40 and M25 do not I believe include litter collected from central reservations (but do include slip roads) whereas those for the network do.

A best estimate for verges (including slip roads) might therrfore be say 0.1 bags per day per km of verge

In other words about 1 bags worth of litter is deposited on every 10 km of verge every day

How long does it stay there?

We can get an idea of this from the stats provided by the HA for the above mentioned section of the M25.  The length of each litter pick is recorded. In the 123 day period 55.6 kms of verge was cleaned.  The length of the section is 11.5 kms so there are 2x 11.5 = 23 kms of verge .

Therefore at the rate of 55.6 km / 123 days = 0.45km /day it would take 23 kms/0.45 km/day = 51days to cover the whole section.  Any litter deposited just after a litter-pick would remain in situ on average for 51 days.  Therefore on average litter would stay in situ for 25.5 days

Similar analysis of the M40 stats show the average time litter remained in situ was 150 days (Oct – Feb)  and 21 days (Mar – Aug).  This six fold improvement came about as a result of my issuing a EPA Section 91 Warning Notice on 19th Feb 2010.

How long could it take to pick it up?

I have figures that show that, provided if litter is picked regularly say every week to 10 days, it can be picked by a single operative at the rate of 2.5 kms/ hour (1.5 miles /hour).

The M40 is 143 kms long so there are 143 x 2 = 286 kms of verge.   To litter pick this would take 286/ 2.5 = 114 hours of non stop picking.  If  the work was carried out by a two man team taking turns to drive an accompanying vehicle  working an 8 hour day time shift they could be expected to spend 6 hours a day picking litter.  It would therefore take them 114 hours/ 6 hours/day = 19 days to litter pick the whole motorway.  If 2 crews were used it would take say 10 days.

Under such a regime litter would on average remain in situ for just 5 days


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