Peterborough man who has spent months clearing litter from parkway verges calls on council to do more

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Mark Fishpool says litter has not been cleared from verges for years – despite freedom of information request from Peterborough City Council showing picks had taken place in the last 12 months

A man who has spent months clearing litter from the side of parkways in Peterborough has urged the council to do more to keep the verges clean and clear of rubbish.

Mark Fishpool, and a team of volunteers, have cleared a huge length of the A47 in the city, collecting countless bags of rubbish from the verges, and the undergrowth beyond.

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Because of the mountain of rubbish collected, Mark recently put a Freedom of Information (FOI) request into the council asking when the authority had cleared the sites – and was told that at numerous locations, picks had taken place within the past 12 months.

Mark Fishpool and his team of volunteers have been clearing long stretches of the A47 tis yearMark Fishpool and his team of volunteers have been clearing long stretches of the A47 tis year
Mark Fishpool and his team of volunteers have been clearing long stretches of the A47 tis year

However, Mark questioned the work done, saying he regularly finds litter that had been left in place for several years.

The City Council said that work had been done – but due to the disruption caused by lane closures needed, the time they can spend on the side of the road was limited.

They also said they had advised not to clear the parkways for safety reasons.

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But Mark said: “I put in the FOI, and it said that every bit of the A47 had been cleared in the past year.

"But when we are out there, we can see that it has not been done at all – or certainly has not been done properly.

"We have pulled so much l rubbish out there, they can’t have been here for very long.

"Some of the drinks cans we find have obviously been there for many years.

"We just get stuck in and clear it.

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"There are also issues with the drainage on the side of the road – they are all completely blocked. It doesn’t look like they have been cleared for a long, long time.

“We wear a hi-viz and put out proper signs to keep us safe.

"The roads are closed (for road works) regularly, but they are never out litter picking.”

A city council spokesperson said: "We are always supportive of residents who want to play their part in keeping the city looking clean and tidy and just recently we were encouraging people to take part in a collective effort with a 2-minute tidy-up where they live.

"However, we strongly discourage residents from litter picking in areas where it is not safe to do so, for example on roundabouts and verges of busy dual carriageway roads where traffic can exceed 70mph. We have spoken to Mr Fishpool about this and advised that he picks litter in other locations which carry less of a risk.

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"The council litter picks across the city on a regular basis, which includes parkway verges. However, to do the latter requires traffic management and sometimes lane closures, which means we are limited as to the time we can spend litter picking in some areas. This means that we will not always clear all of the litter in some areas.

"The council agreed, as part of the 2024/25 budget setting process, to allocate new funding to allow a regular annual programme of maintenance to be introduced for the National Highways network in Peterborough, primarily the A47. This work is currently being planned on a priority basis, pending road space availability."

The council said they include gully cleansing in our major projects whereby all gullies within the lane closure of the scheme will be cleansed as part of these works.