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The blight of roadside litter

The remains of lunch - Photo: SAT

SHETLANDERS are throwing more litter from their cars than anyone else in Scotland, evidence suggests.

As Shetland Amenity Trust and the SIC are highlighting the blight of roadside litter this week, the shocking truth of the state of Shetland’s roadside verges has come to light.

Sita Goudie of the amenity trust said that a recent survey of the 4.7-mile stretch of the A970 between Vidlin junction and the ‘Half Way House’ has revealed five times the amount of litter that can be expected on an average Scottish roadside.

She said Redd Up groups throughout the isles have been reporting a dramatic increase in roadside litter.

To combat the trend, staff from the council and amenity trust will be out on the roadsides on Tuesday to carry out a litter pick along the Black Gaet, which has been identified as another problem area.

Cecilia James - cleared the road verges twice - Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNews

Goudie said: “While problem roadsides have been identified by communities, due to the hazards involved with working at a busy roadside and the number of children involved in Da Voar Redd Up, many Redd Up groups cannot tackle these areas.

“The main roads are also heavily affected but, as they are often not close to communities and traffic is very fast moving, groups are even less likely to address these areas.”

One who has, is Vidlin resident Cecilia James who started her anti-litter campaign last year when she cleared 1.5 tonnes of rubbish from the roadsides of the A970 between Voe and Lerwick.

Half a year later she re-did a 4.7-mile stretch of the same road and filled another two skips with rubbish.

She said: “What has gathered in just six months is shocking. We live in such a beautiful place; those who litter are showing a complete lack of respect for our isles. Is it so hard to preserve our landscapes by taking your litter home?” 

Who folds crisp packets before throwing them away? - Photo: SAT

The council’s manager of environmental service Maggie Sandison said littering was an offence and carried a £50 fine.

“If you care about Shetland’s environment it can be really disheartening to see other people throwing litter out of their cars – if you provide a detailed statement to environmental health we can issue a fixed penalty notice based on your evidence. 

“We will need to know the date, time, a description of what happened and either the person’s name if you know it or the registration and description of the car. 

“We need to show the small minority of people in Shetland who still litter that it is unacceptable to the community,” she said.

The council’s environmental health department can be contacted on 01595 745250.