Legendary broadcaster Jeremy Paxman is calling for signs to display the words “selfish drivers who litter” when when motorway lanes are closed for a clean-up.
Paxman has told the Sunday Times too many Britons treat “this beautiful country as if it were a rubbish dump”, and that he is appalled by the amount of roadside rubbish and that Britain had turned from “a nation of shopkeepers into a nation of litter louts”.
The 72 year old, who served as patron of the campaign group Clean Up Britain until his health declined two years ago, said over the weekend: “What is it with the British? It didn’t used to be like this — we have to do something about it. Travel almost any road in Britain — especially motorways — and you will see the evidence. Fast-food wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bags, fag ends, chewing gum.
“You used to go to other countries and see the filth and wonder what their problem was . . . why don’t they care about where they live? Have they no self-respect? Now people come here and ask those questions.”
In the paper, Clean Up Britain launched a ten-point Motorway Action Plan calling for the introduction of £1,000 littering fines, up from £150, and six penalty points on their licence.
The paper adds that the group wants National Highways to press for powers from the government to prosecute drivers and to use overhead gantries to say: “Littering is antisocial: We’ll fine litterers.” It says cameras should be placed at all motorway slip-roads, junctions and roundabouts to catch offenders, and there should be a website where members of the public can report littering and upload dashcam video evidence. National Highways does not have enforcement powers and only litter louts caught by a passing police officer face penalties.
John Read, the founder of Clean Up Britain, told the Sunday Times: “We should all be truly ashamed . . . Britain’s highways, roundabouts and slip-roads are covered in litter.” But he said this did not excuse National Highways for “failing on an astonishing and soul-destroying scale to clean up the tsunami of litter”.
(Picture – Clean Up Britain Twitter)