A further hazard for the motorist is the presence of debris on the carriageway; unexpected items that cause a driver to take evasive action or cause a loss of control due to impacting with them. This is likely to increase as at least one contractor is not carrying out the debris clearing due to the cost – despite receiving tax-payers money to address the issue. A concern is conveyed here – Debris Only Removed When It Causes Crash?

Additionally, there clearly exist many ‘foreign objects’ on the road that are either not seen due to the speeds at which the driver is travelling or too small to be noticeable. Sharp items can cause punctures and ‘blow-outs’ (sudden deflation of tyres) and combustible material can attach to a vehicle and ignite.  Debris can puncture fuel reservoirs as is suspected in respect of an incident 24/03/2018 where the driver’s account and the damage presented gave cause to believe debris was responsible for a 1,000 litre fuel leak – read more here. The fire report can be read here – Fire Report 2641 24Mar2018


FoIA 761,926 ‘Our maintenance contracts are structured so that our service providers are paid a ‘lump sum’ for a wide range of general maintenance duties such as general repairs, cleaning duties (including litter picking) and repairing potholes. These activities are performed on both a routine and ad-hoc basis to meet contractual requirements.’ – full response – 180510 Litter Debris REDACTED_EIR_761_926

29/03/2018  -More than 1,800 bags of litter have been collected from Yorkshire’s motorways in an operation that has been described as risky for the workforce.”The litter on our roads can cause a hazard to drivers, our workers and wildlife, so I’d urge everyone to keep a bag in their car which they can use for rubbish, and then put it in the bin when they get home to improve the experience of all drivers who use our roads.” source – Minster FM.

20/02/2018 from Clean Highways :

The issue of debris, of roadside rubbish which can pass to the carriageway is highlighted at CleanHighways which displays the following quote:

in 2010 Mike Penning MP described our motorways as being “blighted by litter”  (LINK)

in 2015 a Commons Select Committee (LINK) reported:

65.David Sedaris, author and broadcaster, told us that levels of litter were high in the UK compared to other countries:

It is funny how many people I have spoken to in the UK who say, “Well, it is like this everywhere”. It is not. You have to go deep into Eastern Europe to find it this bad. I lived in France for a number of years. I have never seen anything like this anywhere in France. I lived in Japan for a while. I have never seen any rubbish whatsoever in Japan. It is obviously a cultural thing.104

66.The Government did not appear to share his view. Dan Rogerson, the Defra Minister, told us: “there is a pretty good standard across areas. […] We have not seen a problem that is getting dramatically worse.”

105 We disagree. Not getting worse is not the same as acceptable. We take no satisfaction in it but the evidence of our own eyes, the photographs tweeted to us, and the evidence we took during this inquiry lead us to the conclusion that England is a litter-ridden country compared to most of Europe, North America and Japan. Change is needed.

06/03/2017 – Highways England’s customer service director Melanie Clarke said:

‘Cleaning motorways is expensive and time-consuming, and it is the innocent drivers who suffer. The money needed to clear litter comes out of their pockets and they are the ones who suffer the consequences if an item of litter causes a puncture, or a collision which closes a carriageway’

14/10/2016 – First reported UK Bridgestone DriveGuard puncture caused by roadside debris.
Posted on October 14th, 2016 by Rob Marshall:

You cannot fail to have noticed that there is an increasing quantity of detritus littering the hard-shoulders and central reservations of our motorways in recent years. I have and it could have resulted in a nasty accident, when a large metal object (I presume it were a bolt) skewered one of my rear tyres, while I was travelling at 60mph, early in the morning, several weeks ago.

To read the full article, click here