Dropping litter on the motorway 'puts lives at risk'

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The roads agency has launched a new initiative in the North West after over 40,000 sacks of litter had to be collected from motorways in the region last year -- an average of 108 sacks for every mile of motorway.

Drivers will see new signs which read 'Workers' lives are put at risk picking your litter' and extra litter-picking patrols will be out on the roads.

Bolton-based Paul Cooper, 46, has been collecting litter from motorways for 19 years as part of his job as a maintenance team supervisor for Balfour Beatty Mott MacDonald. Cooper's other duties include filling potholes, repairing safety barriers and clearing drains. He said:

"I think most drivers who sling litter out their windows don't really think about what they're doing, and that someone like me has to come along and clear up after them.

"It tends to be worst on slip roads or where there's standing traffic, as that's when drivers seem to decide to have a clear out of their cars.

"There's always an element of risk when you're working on the network as you're near traffic so my message to drivers is please stop dropping litter and take it home with you instead."

Highways England also pointed out that litter poses a risk to other drivers if it lands on windscreens. What's more, it can be harmful to wildlife and leads to flooding if drains become blocked.

Because of this, litter picking is regularly carried out across the motorway network. This work costs taxpayers an estimated £40 for each sack of litter collected from motorways -- roughly the same cost as fixing a pothole.

The government has proposed almost doubling the fine for dropping litter to £150. Vehicle owners could also receive penalty notices when it can be proved litter was thrown from their car -- even if it was discarded by somebody else.

Are there any litter hotspots in your area?

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