175 bags of litter weighing 500 kg were picked up from the six mile stretch of the busy road

The Council's public realm contractor, Balfour Beatty Living Places, took advantage of the A40 road closure to send in their 15-strong litter-picking team to clear the westbound road verges of litter between Wilton road roundabout and Symonds Yat, working through the night on Thursday and Friday.

Contract director Andy Williams said the operation was quicker, and safer, with the road closed.

"Litter thrown from moving vehicles can cause accidents, looks unsightly, can block drains and also creates a threat to wildlife," he said.

 "When we send in teams to collect the litter, there is always a safety risk as they can be struck by passing vehicles. This is why we are so pleased to have collaborated with Highways England and their contractor Kier to take advantage of the opportunity of the road being closed for maintenance".

The crew picked up a total of 175 bags of litter weighing 500 kg from the six mile stretch of the busy road. Amongst the debris was a single trainer, a bicycle frame, a metal post and lots of bottles and food packaging.

Andy Williams, Balfour Beatty Contract Director, said, "We are coordinating with Highways England and Kier over the coming months to carry out further litter picking of the A49/A40, at the same time as there are planned closures. Safety is a core focus for Balfour Beatty, so I am pleased that through industry collaboration we are able to provide an even safer working environment for our operatives, allowing them to continue on with the good work in keeping Hereford tidy".

Herefordshire Council is spending £1.2 million this year to clear up litter dropped throughout the county.

Cllr Paul Rone, portfolio holder for Highways, said: "By keeping our roads free of litter we can make our beautiful environment safer and more pleasant for everyone.

"But this is money we shouldn't have to spend on picking up what selfish drivers leave behind. I urge all drivers to keep a bag for rubbish in their vehicle and take it home with them. Then we could spend this huge sum of money on vital services such as supporting the young and the vulnerable." 

The Council is running a 'Stop the drop' litter campaign this year - one of the focus areas is encouraging people not to throw litter from cars. Look out for some fantastic video entries from our recent competition and keep up to date with what we are doing at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/stopthedrop

Published: 6th May 2016