WINCHESTER residents are backing a campaign to keep the city’s outer roads from being littered.
James Miller started the group last Monday (Mar 23) following an article in the Hampshire Chronicle about a new law which will delay litter picking on roads with speed limits of over 40mph.
Fuelled by seeing too many dirty and rubbish-stricken lay-bys, Mr Miller, a 37-year-old IT consultant of Colebrook Street, launched the online group ‘Keep Winchester’s Roads Free From Litter’ which is being supported by scores of residents.
At the time of going to print, the online petition had attracted 220 signatures, which Mr Miller hopes to present to the leader of Winchester City Council in an effort to confront a problem which he feels has, until now, been largely ignored.
Mr Miller said: “I don’t think there’s a single issue but, from what I can see in Winchester, there seems to be a lack of engagement with people.
“I’ve complained to the Highways Agency and Winchester City Council and it’s very difficult to get a sense of responsibility. On numerous occasions they have failed to get back to me; it’s a real feeling of complacency.”
The page, which showed an area densely littered alongside some HGVs, reads: “Our city is surrounded by beautiful countryside yet the quality of the environment is seriously compromised by the level of litter that is allowed to build up on our roads.
“Enough is enough.”
Littering across rural Hampshire seems to be increasing at a rapid rate after Winchester City Council abandoned litter collections on all rural roads with higher speed limits.
They are one of many local authorities across the country to follow the new legal measures after a spate of fatalities on rural roads.
The city council is considering traffic management schemes to protect its workers.
In Twyford volunteers have been forced to step forward once a year to pick up debris often tossed by drivers travelling through.
Resident Oliver Gray took part in the litter pick last Saturday (Mar 28).
“The main thing that strikes you is that most of the litter contained junk in the first place - chocolate bars, crisps, fast food, fizzy drinks. What were the people who threw this out of their car windows thinking? Presumably not thinking at all,” he said. “But as no one seems to be responsible for clearing it up, it falls to the local residents to do it. We’re happy to do it, but not as happy as we would be if it wasn’t necessary.”
Swanmore in the Meon Valley has also been forced to take up the hobby.
Around 25 residents from the parish returned no less than 73 bin liners packed full of rubbish which they’d collected throughout the village to mark Clean Up England Day.
Rubbish dumped across the parish included half a rear car bumper.
Organiser David Street said clean-ups would continue as long as people kept disregarding the environment.
“Swanmore was spick and span for a few hours until the litterers got to work again,” he said. “The more untidy it gets, the more people drop. If we get people walking around with bags it does give a message that Swanmore isn’t going to be littered. We’re going to keep the village tidy.”