THE COUNCIL leader has called on National Highways to take over responsibility of cleaning the A27 and A23.

Under current arrangements, Brighton and Hove City Council is responsible for removing litter on the roads, while National Highways is responsible for cutting back the vegetation and strimming the grass.

Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said the council receives no funding for clearing verges and has to pay National Highway’s contractors for the necessary road closures.

“At present the two main routes both into and out of the city are an eyesore with the amount of litter and debris strewn around,” he said.

“So I’ve written to government ministers, calling for the responsibility to clean the verges of the highways in the city to sit with National Highways and their contractors.”

Cllr Mac Cafferty said the call to action follows a significant increase in roadside litter, including household rubbish and loads on vehicles that have come loose.

“At present, sadly, we have no control arranging access to the highways and we’re not seen as a priority. This doesn’t make sense and makes it very difficult and costly to clean the verges,” he said.

“National Highways could factor this into their existing work schedules and make efficiencies by timing the cleaning at the same time. That would make the operation much smoother and keep the verges cleaner.

“Given the concerning state of littering of the A23 and A27 and the impact this has on the well-being of local communities, our environment, as well as tourism, I have asked the Secretary of State for Transport to transfer responsibility to National Highways as a matter of urgency.”

The council also highlighted the environmental damage being caused by the current system.

“If verges are strimmed before a litter pick, the shredded litter and plastic becomes too small to collect and becomes embedded in the soil,” a council spokesman said.

“This affects not only the surrounding wildlife and flora but also the water table and later the sea.

“These roads are used by lots of commuters every day and as traffic continues to increase this is only contributing to the litter and debris already causing the problem.”

The Love Our City and Keep Brighton and Hove Tidy campaign resulted in cleaning crews collecting 1,540kg litter, as well as numerous small fly tips from a section of the A27 trunk road. 

A mechanical sweeper also picked up 8,100kg of silt and debris.

National Highways service delivery manager Anup Shrestha said: “Responsibility for litter picking currently sits with the local authority, and it would require new legislation to change this.

"However, we do work closely with councils to help their litter operatives best utilise any traffic management we have in place. This allows them to safely go onto the road while vehicles are travelling at a reduced speed.

"We do help local authorities access the network and send in our own teams to litter pick when the opportunity arises if we are working on the network. However, if people didn't drop litter from their vehicles in the first place it wouldn't need to be picked up. We urge people to think twice before tossing litter out of their car windows and take it home instead."