Letter published in The Times


10 August 2023


Letter published 10 August 2023 in response to a column in The Times which appeared on 9 August.

Sir, in reply to your Thunderer (“Second-rate roads ‘managed’ by a third-rate quango”, Aug 9), National Highways runs more than 4,500 miles of motorways and A-roads, used by four million vehicles every day. I don’t recognise the description of a crumbling network covered in litter.

I also disagree that our licence agreement is optional — we are held to account by the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail and Road, as well as by other regional and local stakeholders.

It’s true that litter is unsightly and environmentally damaging and can be a safety hazard. Our people are litter-picking somewhere on our network almost every day. To keep them safe we have to close lanes or parts of the motorway, delaying drivers and costing millions of pounds. There would be no litter if people did not drop it. We will continue to work with local authorities on ways to stop the blight. And we will keep doing our job. But littering is a social problem we are all responsible for. Prevention is better, and safer, than cure.

Nick Harris
Chief executive, National Highways