Britain is one of the most litter-blighted countries in Europe. 30 million tonnes of rubbish are removed from the UK every year at a cost of £1bn – The Highways Agency alone clears 700,000 sacks of litter from England’s road network every year.
I was driving back along the Fosse Way the other day and got held up behind a tractor cutting the verges, which is a necessary job but sadly uncovers all the ghastly litter that has been discarded from vehicles. The mower was doing a very efficient job of cutting up much of the dreaded plastic into even smaller pieces, which the wind was then distributing even further afield!
One of the places this rubbish ends up in is our hedgerows, which are so important as they quietly help the local countryside environment by reducing soil loss through wind and water erosion as well as providing sustainable drainage in towns and reducing air pollution. Above all, wherever located, hedgerows provide a vital habitat for wildlife.
Unbelievably, protection of our hedgerows wasn’t introduced until 1997. Although regulations are in place, many deemed ‘important’ because of their age, length and biodiversity can be removed without consultation, because planning permission for development overrides their protection. So with the amount of natural hedgerows diminishing at such an alarming rate we need to help protect them in whatever way we can (from CPRE ‘Better Protection for our Hedgerows’).
From Keep Britain Tidy:
“The mindless act of tossing plastic bottles and fast-food wrappers out of car windows is doing damage to our environment and our wildlife.
Research published recently in Keep Britain Tidy’s Journal of Local Environmental Quality showed that millions of small mammals – voles and shrews – were dying after being enticed into bottles and cans thrown on to grass verges.
We need to get the message out there that being a ‘tosser’ is socially unacceptable and, regardless of who throws the rubbish, if it comes out of your vehicle you are responsible.”
From April 2018, the owner of a vehicle can be fined up to £150 if rubbish is seen being thrown out of a car window.
Let’s all be more aware, more mindful; take our rubbish home – don’t throw it out of the car, van or lorry into our hedgerows and don’t be afraid to remind or report others if they do so. We need to change behaviour by spotlighting litter on a daily basis!
Show your support for www.keepbritaintidy.org who work tirelessly with people, businesses, local authorities and government to educate, innovate and inspire – improving the environment on everyone’s doorstep.
Garden Gate Flowers
Tel: 07933 736988