Observer: Council has presided over an environmental plastic disaster

Our Saturday independent columnist Observer was horrified on discovering that plastic was being dispersed into the environment by a lack of litter picking on the Uckfield by-pass.


Make no mistake, Wealden District Council has committed an environmental ‘crime’ by failing to pick up litter along the Uckfield by-pass and letting small pieces of plastic get loose.

The effect of its lack of action is to put plastic waste into the environment, which one day will seep into the seas.

We should all be thankful that Brighter Uckfield has exposed what has happened.

For new readers, a quick recap.


The highways authority cut the verges before the litter was collected.

As a result, there was an eyesore but the real damage we now find is that plastic was smashed to smithereens.

What a disaster.

Full of litter

It’s not the first time in recent years that Uckfield people have pointed out to Wealden District Council that the roadside verges are full of litter.

Whether such inaction is a crime on the statute book, I doubt, but I hope other people will seek to hold this authority to account.

Litter picking, like refuse collection Wealden, is contracted out by the authority to a private company.

You will be interested to know that on Monday, January 29, the district council’s overview and scrutiny committee had a report from the portfolio holder for waste management, and that includes litter, Cllr Roy Galley.


The minutes of the meeting show that Cllr Galley “was aware of the increase in litter across the District and the lack of co-ordination between hedge cutting and litter picking and he had raised this with the contractors and would be escalating his concerns higher”.

I hope that is a polite way of Cllr Galley saying he is going on the warpath. He needs to get to the bottom of this one and bang some heads together so that we never have such litter a litter problem again AND ensure the litter pickers go out in front of the mowers.

If it takes a big stick, Cllr Galley should be wield it. He will have people’s support.

I had suggested, when first talking about this, that the pickers should follow the mowers.

Brighter Uckfield demonstrated I was wrong.

Of course, the litter shouldn’t be there in the first place.


Much is thrown from cars and Cllr Galley, at the committee meeting, agreed to look into the possibility of erecting appropriate signage in some areas, with behavioural messages in an attempt to reduce littering and educate the public to take responsibility for the correct disposal of their litter.

It may help, a little.


However, my observations show that a sizeable proportion of roadside waste is industrial in nature. It blows from the back of lorries – I’ve seen it. No doubt you have too.

As I said, the litter shouldn’t be there but the council should ensure it is removed on a regular basis, as well as tackling any hotspots if they suddenly arise.


If you are not up to speed on the problems plastic cause in the environment, here are some stories to read (external links)

Plastic in the pristine Arctic

Ocean plastic – a planetary crisis

 PARKING CONTROLS: Good idea from Barry Hallett last week in the UckfieldNews Facebook page when referring to last week’s column. He said: “I agree with a warden or some means of controlling where people park. However, I don’t agree with charging people to park. This will just force people to take a risk on poor parking.

“Keep parking free and just control the poor parking that people do.”

Sounds a great idea to me – as long as the council which employs the warden can keep the fines money to pay the warden(s).

See also:

Former Uckfield chapel for sale

Overnight road closures for London Road

Rent reduced on Uckfield shop with flat above

Tough task for SLM Toyota Uckfield as they choose charity for funding nomination

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

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