Wycombe A404

Big improvement in cleaning of busy dual carriageway

…after threat of Litter Abatement Order

A404 LitterThis is a picture of the A404 between the M40 at High Wycombe and the turn off to Marlow taken in February 2010.  (See map).   What it shows is typical of the condition of the verges for at least the previous year or so.

The road is part of the national strategic network of trunk roads and motorways run by the Highways Agency. However, unlike motorways the local authority is responsible for cleaning truck roads.

On 19th February 2010 I wrote to the Chief Executive of Wycombe District Council with an EPA Section 91  Notice warning of my intention to complain to the Magistrates Court for a Litter Abatement Order.

They replied on 22nd February saying that 2 – 3 years ago the Highways Agency introduced new regulations that required them to close the adjacent lane while litter picking a verge.  A year ago the HA had added the further stipulation that the work had to be done at night to minimise traffic disruption.  Prior to this the verges had  been cleaned every 2 weeks.

The northbound verge had been cleaned, they said, in January and they had now arranged access with the Highways Agency to clean the south bound side on 23rd and 24th February.

After further enquiries they explained that the previous clean had been in June 2009. No cleaning had therefore taken place for 7 months!!!!! Access, they said, had been refused by the Highways Agency in October and December. Cleaning  is scheduled every 3 months subject to being given road space by the Highways Agency.  A new contractor was taking over in April.

I can now report that over the summer the road has been transformed and has been maintained to a high level of cleanliness. I have written to the council congratulating them and asking how this has been brought about.

Peter Silverman
26th October 2010


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