No litter collections along some Eastbourne main roads for months, if not years

From: Graham SmithUpland Road

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:53 am
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:56 am

May I applaud Mike Grant for his excellent and heartfelt letter { |click here to read} re the appalling state of all approach roads into Eastbourne.

I too am appalled by the state of the verges on our main roads, and have written to Lewes District Council in the past about the litter problem.

In 2016, I was told in an email that ‘Highways England are responsible for maintaining the upkeep of the A26 & A27 while East Sussex County Council is responsible for other main roads’.

I was told that the collecting of litter on these roads is a difficult one, and that the safety of operatives is of paramount importance, something which is undeniably true.

However, as Mike Grant states, there are many places along such roads (and along Jubilee Way and the A22) where there are no such issues, and yet there are no litter collections, and have not been for many months, or indeed years.

Moreover, grass cutting along the verges of some parts of these main roads does take place, yet incredibly these operatives do not pick up any of the litter before or after cutting the grass.

Does this make sense, and is it cost-effective? Why can’t these same operatives collect the litter before cutting the grass?

This is not rocket science! Having been told last year by a councillor that the top section of Paradise Drive in Eastbourne would have to be closed for a litter collection to take place, 4 friends and I donned ‘high viz’ jackets at 6.30 am on Sat 2 March and, armed with litter picker-uppers, we spent 75 mins collecting litter along that part of the road. In that time, we filled no fewer than eight large bin bags with all kinds of rubbish, from cans and bottles to car parts, which we then put into our own bins at home.

In 2016, after I and many others complained long and loudly enough about the appalling state of the A27 and A26, the issue of roadside cleaning on these roads was featured on BBC South East Today.

Shortly afterwards, I received an email from LDC, informing me that ‘we have now made arrangements with contractors Balfour Beatty to carry out overnight litter clearance on the A26/A27 for 13 nights from Monday 18th April.’ A coincidence? Almost certainly not!

Closing these roads overnight must be a costly option, but another possibility is what I saw as I drove back from Brighton at 11.30pm two weeks ago – resurfacing of the A27 near Polegate was taking place, with single file traffic being controlled by temporary traffic lights, and arc lights being used to help protect the workforce.

This seems a very sensible solution to the litter problem – although why was the litter not collected by the relevant authority on that very same night?

A footnote : as recently as three weeks ago, Lewes District Council backed a motion which called on the council to seek responsibility for clearing litter on these two main roads to be transferred to Highways England.

So, in the light of the communication that I had from LDC in 2016, which stated that Highways England were already responsible, who indeed is in charge of keeping these roads free from litter?

I shall be writing to LDC again very shortly, to lobby them to clean these roads, and may I ask Mike Grant – and other readers – to do the same?

I feel that only by such action will these main arteries be cleaned, and the approaches to Eastbourne be worthy of our lovely town.