More than 24 tonnes of rubbish were collected from motorways and A-roads in the South West over the past 12 months.

Since April 2023, a total of 6,000 bags of litter and rubbish were collected as well as large items such as bed mattresses, electric cables and carpets along busy routes.

The latest litter pick took place last month on the M5, where teams picked up 500 bags of litter.

Particular hotspot areas in the region include the M32 J2-M4, M5 Avonmouth slip roads, and M5 Michaelwood Services, but National Highways has implemented enhanced monitoring of these sections to ensure they are regularly cleared.

Andrew Gale, Service Delivery Manager for the South West, said: “It is infuriating to see how much litter has been tossed onto the roadside.

“Roadside rubbish isn’t just unsightly, it is a danger to the environment, wildlife and drivers using our roads. It’s also a hazard for the people who have to pick up litter from the roadside because of the few individuals who feel it is ok to make others clean up after them.

“Overall, the litter picture on our roads is improving from previous years, but we recognise more is still needed. That’s why it’s great that we have launched a new litter campaign to help raise awareness.”

The news coincides with this year’s Great British Spring Clean, in which the company has announced two new innovative litter trials to help reduce the amount of litter on the network: ‘geo-fencing’ laybys and solar-powered compactor bins.

National Highways has trialled messaging to reduce motorway littering using ‘geofencing’ to send messages to drivers entering laybys where littering is prevalent, urging them to use bins or take their litter home.

Geofencing is the use of GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to create a ‘virtual geographic boundary’, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters.

Allison Ogden-Newton, Chief Executive of environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, said: “Drivers mindlessly tossing their rubbish out of their windows is a blight on our country and does untold harm to our wildlife, as well as making our country looked dirty and unloved.