"It is an absolute disgrace" - Rishworth environmental group calls for urgent action over rubbish-strewn stretch of road

An environmental group from Rishworth is calling on Calderdale Council to act over the rubbish-strewn stretch of road leading out of the village to the M62.

By Tom Scargill
Wednesday, 6th April 2022, 9:08 am

Rishworth Environmental Group, who take care of gardening in a number of sites in the village as well as volunteer litter picking, litter pick around Rishworth on a regular basis, but say that Calderdale Council will not allow them to do so on the stretch of road from Rishworth to the motorway - any part of which does not have a footpath.

The group says they have lobbied their three councillors and election candidates about the matter, who have tried to get action, but the council will not tell anyone if or when the area will be litter picked.

Justine Potts, the group's secretary, said: "We know that the litter was removed four times a year some years ago and this was reduced to once a year using mobile traffic lights to close one side of the carriageway to protect the operatives.

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Rishworth Environmental Group

"We have no idea when it was last done but suspect it was a long time pre-Covid.

"The litter is absolutely everywhere and I’ve never seen it so bad in the 18 years we’ve lived here.

"Bearing in mind this route is not only the gateway to Calderdale it is also the gateway to Yorkshire it is an absolute disgrace.

"We are not the only ones to be having this conversation, many residents who use the road have asked on social media if they can get a working party together to litter pick, we have always told them Calderdale’s stance on this with regard to the danger but I do know of some people have been and picked up the litter on their own initiative."

Rishworth Environmental Group

Justine says the group would also like to see a litter bin reinstated at the site, as well as more prominent signage discouraging littering.

"Other boroughs have put up huge amusing signs on the slip roads and others are using CCTV to catch culprits.

"I know litter is a countrywide problem but ignoring it isn’t working, it’s just getting residents cross and the litter is attracting even more litter.

"We have been told that junction 25 was litter picked recently and I’m wondering why they won’t do our junction 22.

Some of the rubbish Rishworth Environmental Group want cleared up

"Our group must save the council a fortune every year as we keep our village clean, not a week goes by without someone from our group litter picking.

"The litter is not going anywhere, it is just piling up especially as most of it is inorganic."

According to the World Wildlife Fund, a plastic bag will take 20 years to decompose, a coffee cup 30 years, a plastic bottle 450 years, a plastic cup 450 years and glass bottle so long it is unknown.

"Calderdale are just relying on the grass growing up and burying it," said Justine.

"But matter never disappears, it will just reduce in size and pollute the moor. It is a hazard for wildlife, the amount of broken bottles alone is huge and these can also cause moorland fires in the summer, which is quite pertinent with the moors over Huddersfield being on fire recently.

"We travel all over the UK and are hard pressed to find another piece of road as disgusting as this one, even in some of the poorest districts in the country they seem to be able to pick up the litter.

"We live in beautiful valley and we believe we deserve a better service than this.

"If you got out of your car you just cannot believe how bad it is.

"Welcome to Yorkshire - dustbin of the country."

Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Services, Zohrah Zancudi, said: "We know how disappointing it is to see littering in our beautiful borough and we’re so grateful for the local community groups which help us tackle this problem which blights our environment.

"Our Green Spaces and Street Scene team has been holding clean-up events across the borough on every day of the Great British Spring Clean (25 March- 10 April) and we’ve been joined by some really passionate residents committed to keeping the borough clean and tidy.

“While we really appreciate this help, it’s important that residents don’t put themselves in danger when picking and the locations for the scheduled clean up events have been chosen as they’re accessible, safe and we can ensure we can provide the appropriate equipment to support volunteers.

“We’re aware of the littering in the area from Rishworth towards the M62 and our teams carry out a pick at this location at least once a year. The next clean up here is scheduled over the next couple of months and appropriate traffic management controls will be put in place to ensure that our staff are able to work safely.

“We know most people respect our beautiful landscape, but we urge all residents to ensure they dispose of their waste responsibly and keep our borough looking its best.”