Roadside litter around Horsham angers residents: 'Something has to be done'

As rubbish on roadsides around Horsham continues to pile up, residents are calling for action.

Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 10:20 am

Horsham resident and business owner, David Jeffrey said: “I have been proud to live and work in this lovely town. However, after using the A24 and A27 for the first time in months, I was horrified by the rubbish.

“To say my wife and I were shocked is an understatement.”

David said he feared for the local economy. “I am an estate agent. We’ve been selling houses in Horsham for 30 years now. But, if this goes on, no one is going to want to come here.

Roadside litter is a problem in the Horsham district and beyond

“It’s not a good advert is it? If you’re coming to Horsham and you see all this rubbish by the side of the road, you’re going to keep on driving.

“All my business colleagues have said exactly the same.”

After airing his concerns on Facebook, David was surprised to receive hundreds of comments from local people, who all held similar complaints about roadside litter.

“If we don’t get a handle on it now, it’s going to be a big issue.

“Something has to be done.”

It is not a new problem. In 2015, a Parliamentary Select Committee compared England with Europe, Japan and North America and concluded that it was arguably the most littered country in the western world.

Thakeham resident Rocky Hitchcock is also concerned about the state of the county’s roads: “People don’t like it. They get very annoyed about seeing their area spoilt.”

In his spare time, Rocky routinely clears litter from the surrounding area. While performing these clean-up operations, he said that the local community were overwhelmingly supportive.

“When my wife and I are out litter picking, we get lots of thumbs up from passers-by or motorists. It is quite gratifying.”

“[Roadside litter] is a local problem, so therefore it needs a local solution,” he continued.

While recognising that there were many “obstacles” to litter picking in the local area, Rocky was optimistic that the rubbish problem could be solved.

“I am always hopeful.”

Originally from the Netherlands, Nicolette Wykeman, who has lived in Sussex since 2017, said she was “seriously ashamed when friends from Holland come to visit.”

In what they call “guerrilla actions,” Nicolette and her husband frequently glove-up, don high-visibility jackets and get picking around their home in Hove.

“It is mindful, a bit addictive. Now when I go for a walk, I take a bag to pick things up.”

She felt the need to take matters into her own hands “because nothing was being done.”

“In this country, there is a lot of passing the buck. No one takes responsibility. We can all complain about it, but it is not that difficult, just get a picker and go out and do something about it.

But Nicolette also said that “we should change our habits.”

“People should try and stop using plastic bags and take their own, they should ask if they really need to have a coffee every time they go out, and try to reduce their reliance on food on the go.

“We are so used to buying things and throwing them away.”

She had signed a petition calling for the registration plates of vehicles to be printed on fast food packing to deter individuals from discarding it at the roadside.

“The more noise we make, hopefully this problem will be solved.”

“We are all responsible,” she added.

Philip Circus, Cabinet member for Environment, Waste, Recycling and Cleansing at Horsham District Council said: "As a council we are passionate about keeping our streets, roadsides and green spaces clear of the litter.

"The appearance of litter on roadsides is a blight on our environment and its clearance currently costs local taxpayers around £130,000 a year.

"Having the power to take enforcement action, the Council can now undertake unannounced days of enforcement activity which will see the use of dash camera footage in order to catch culprits, enabling it to issue Fixed Penalty Notices or to prosecute dependent upon the severity of the offence, which could entail fines of up to £2,500 plus a criminal record.

"The Council also asks that if road users or members of the public spot offenders littering or fly tipping they should report incidents to them by going to the Council’s website or alternatively supply the Council with Dash Cam footage where possible."

If residents wish to report littering or fly-tipping they are urged to report it at: https://www.horsham.gov.uk/bins/reportit/fly-tipping-and-fly-posting or by calling 01403 733144.