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Friday 13 April 2018, 12:41 PM

I am fiercely proud of my Gloucestershire heritage but there are times when that pride is sorely tested.

It happens mostly on my way into work. It is not just the quantity of litter. Even without a close inspection, it is not difficult to identify the pastel-coloured liquids in some of the see through containers that decorate the hard shoulder.

M5 junction 12 slip road

Drivers or passengers who neither have the time nor inclination to find a proper convenience appear to use whatever is conveniently to hand and then fling it out the window.

An inconvenient truth

You’ve not noticed? Check out the approach to junction 12 the next time you’re heading south on the M5.

To what should be our eternal shame, the sea of discarded plastic and paper is spreading far beyond my daily drive. On one occasion when I happened to be driving along it, what forecasters dubbed the wettest March on record had turned one section of the Old Gloucester Road into a river of un-recycled rubbish.

 

It has become just too easy for those who don’t give a damn to dump any old garbage out of the window as they drive along. Our verges have become depositories of convenience – and this at a time when penalties were supposed to have been beefed-up.

From this month, new legislation has meant that drivers who allow litter to be thrown from their cars can be fined £150 - up from £80 - even if the culprit is a passenger. Just how ineffective that is proving is plain to see.

 

It is estimated that clearing-up litter costs the taxpayer almost £800m a year. We are literally throwing money away. Maybe, then, it’s time for a different approach. How about three points on your licence for starters and six points if you’re caught slinging a container of the other stuff. After all, no-one should be expected to clear up anyone’s mess.

I know it will be hard to police and councils will find it difficult to identify offenders, but it might just make those who don’t normally, think twice

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Page last updated: 13 April 2018