Roadside litter campaign launched to protect wildlife

National Highways and partners have launched a campaign urging road users to bin their litter after revealing a link between roadside littering and wildlife fatalities

National Highways and partners are urging road users to tackle roadside littering after revealing a link between litter and wildlife fatalities.

The campaign, supported by the RSPCA and Keep Britain Tidy, aims to raise awareness and change behaviours through various initiatives, including trials with AI-enabled cameras and messaging interventions.

Focus groups with littering drivers revealed a misconception about biodegradable food as litter, while a survey found that almost half were unaware that fruit peel and apple cores are considered litter.

About one-third believed that dropping organic waste on the road benefits wildlife, and a similar proportion were unsure.

Despite most claiming they never littered, over 60% admitted to witnessing roadside littering by others.

National Highways chief executive Nick Harris said: “Littering is a dreadful social problem. It’s not just unsightly, it can have a deadly impact on wildlife, turning verges into lethal roadside restaurants.”

RSPCA lead wildlife officer Geoff Edmond said: “Our rescuers deal with thousands of incidents every year where animals have been impacted by litter.

“Old drinks cans and bottles, plastic items and even disposable vapes are just some of the items that pose a danger to our wildlife including hedgehogs, squirrels, deer and foxes.

“Animals can ingest the litter, become trapped in it or be attracted to old food on the roadside which puts them in danger of moving vehicles.”

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