A clean-up of the A27 earlier this month by the Brighton & Hove Council Cityclean team removed 18 tonnes of litter, fly tip and silt from the road.
The clean-up took place over five nights, finishing on Tuesday 4 October. It covered the central reservation and verges on the 5 miles of road between Dyke Road and Falmer.
The work takes place overnight to take advantage of lighter traffic. Keeping the A27 free of litter is a tricky task to organise and costly due to the need to co-ordinate with National Highways.
Councils along the route are responsible for removing litter from verges, while National Highways are responsible for cutting back the vegetation and strimming the grass.
This means councils usually need to co-ordinate with National Highways’ contractors for litter picks to take place during other maintenance work.
Councils receive no funding for clearing verges and have to pay National Highways contractors for the necessary road closures.
As well as being expensive, it often proves impractical and can mean many parts of the road going without clean-ups for long periods.
If verges are strimmed before litter is cleared, the shredded litter and plastic becomes too small to collect and becomes embedded in the soil.
This affects not only the surrounding wildlife and flora but also the water table and later the sea.
Council leader, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty, said: “I’d like to thank the Cityclean team for their efforts working overnight to clear up the A27. Removing 18 tonnes of rubbish is a staggering amount for a 5 mile stretch of road.
“We’ve been asking for a change to the current set up for who is responsible for cleaning the national trunk roads. At present, sadly, the city council has no control arranging access to the highways and we’re not even seen as a priority. This doesn’t make sense and makes it very difficult, costly and takes too long to clean the verges.
“National Highways could factor the clear-up 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. Keeping verges clean and litter free is everyone’s responsibility. As well as being an eyesore, litter on the roads endangers wildlife and pollutes the environment.”