Mounds of rubbish pile up on the M25

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Motorways and main roads are becoming “rubbish dumps” because of the failure of highways chiefs to clear litter and debris, warned campaigners.

Clean up Britain say it is not only an eyesore and a danger to motorists and road cleaners but also killing millions of our rarest and most important wildlife,

Founder John Read said Highways England was breaching its legal duty to keep motorways and A-roads free of rubbish, leaving motorists to “drive through filth” every day.

He spoke after complaints about bags of rubbish and discarded drinks cans and food packaging on verges on motorways across the country. Some drivers have reported seeing dumped mattresses, sofas, chairs, tyres and bed frames on the sides of roads.

Rubbish left along the M40

Highways England, the government owned company, is obliged under the Environmental Protection Act to ensure its land is litter-free.

But John Read claims the organisation is breaking the law every day by “not “ensuring that their roads are kept clear of litter”.

He said: “Ministers know they are breaking the law, and let them get away with it! Why does Grant Shapps allow them to do this. If the government’s slogan of Building Back Better is to mean anything meaningful then we must start cleaning up our filthy polluted country.

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Plastic bags and bottles along the M5

“So far, Rebecca Pow, like previous DEFRA Ministers before her, has totally failed to address Britain’s litter epidemic – and the evidence of this lies all over the country to be seen by everyone.”

He said “selfish and irresponsible” motorists who “have no concern for the environment” should be severely punished to deter them from littering in the future.

In March the Mirror’s Environment Editor took to the verges of the A27 on the outskirts of Brighton, on the border between East and West Sussex.

Motorists have been slammed for being "selfish"

Although it passes through some of England’s most scenic landscapes, it is one of Britain’s filthiest roads.

In the space of 45 minutes, she collected five bin bags full of cans, coffee cups, bottles, sweet and crisp wrappers and cigarette packets.

Discarded shoes, polystyrene and plastic sheeting were also found by volunteers.

Residents set up a campaign group two years ago to get authorities to tackle the mess.

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A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “We constantly monitor our network and return it to standard within the specified timescales.

"We’ve also identified litter ‘hotspots’ , areas which are the most problematic in terms of repeat littering, where we carry out a more rapid clean up and tackling littering at its source.

“Litter clearance for most parts of our network is carried out on an agreed cyclical basis.

"As part of our weekly safety inspections, we note any sections where there is a build-up of large amounts of litter or fly tipping. This is then treated as a defect to be cleared.”