Increase of litter on A1

Sunday July 9th 2023

BEAR Scotland and East Lothian Council litter picking on the A1

BEAR Scotland and East Lothian Council litter picking on the A1.


Written by Midlothian View Editor, Phil Bowen

A noticeable increase in litter on the A1 trunk road between the English border and Edinburgh prompted roads authorities to come together and undertake a dedicated focus on litter-picking activities in the last week of June 2023.

Additional resource and effort from BEAR Scotland, Scottish Borders Council, East Lothian Council and City of Edinburgh Council in the final week of June saw a total of 538 bags of litter collected as well as over 30 large items including car parts, a lorry wheel and a fridge.

This initiative was timed in advance of high-profile events over the summer including the Scottish Open and the UCI Cycling Championships.

The nature of the A1, which has some dual carriageway sections and some single carriageway sections, means that responsibility for litter picking differs throughout the route between the relevant local authority and BEAR Scotland which manages trunk roads on behalf of Transport Scotland.

Councillor John Greenwell, Executive Member for Roads Development & Maintenance at Scottish Borders Council said:

“Litter is a constant scourge on our local environment and unfortunately it is simply not possible to keep large stretches of trunk road litter-free all the time. Last week we took a coordinated approach and dedicated extra resource to cleaning the roadsides of the A1 and as a result have collected a staggering amount of litter.”

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian Cabinet Spokesperson for Environment, Economic Development and Tourism, said:

“The A1 is a main arterial route through East Lothian and it reflects poorly on our beautiful county when it is covered in discarded waste. The clear up gathered an astonishing amount of debris that simply has no place being there. It required significant coordination to undertake safely and diverts our staff away from other important work within our communities. I would encourage people to take their litter home or use bins when they stop during their journey to keep the A1 verges and embankments clear and green.”

Tommy Deans, BEAR Scotland Network Manager said:

“It is hugely disappointing and frustrating that litter continues to blight our beautiful countryside. The A1 is a key gateway to Scotland and the amount of litter gives a terrible impression of the country to visitors and locals alike. We urge all road users to take responsibility for their waste by taking it home and binning it.”

The efforts have been noted. Hollie Crowe, Chairperson of Berwickshire Anti-Litter Group (BAG) says:

“As a local litter group, the litter along our stretch of A1 and up to Edinburgh has always frustrated us. We have fought hard to have our voices heard and we are so grateful that BEAR Scotland and local authorities have managed to come together to tackle the litter. The A1 has gone from an eye sore to a lovely, picturesque drive, just as it should be when welcoming visitors into our country.

“We can only hope that people respect the newly, clean verges and take their litter home or use bins provided. Thanks again to all involved, we hope that this practical co-operation between agencies will continue to help keep our country beautiful.”

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