Claims of “health and safety gone mad” have been levelled at the council over its alleged failure to clean up rubbish on roadside verges around Lanark.
The build-up of empty food takeaway cartons, bottles and cans is particularly bad at Cleghorn Bridge, a main gateway to Lanark from the east where visitors to the town are, said one resident, getting a “very bad first impression of our area.”
The Cleghorn resident, who asked not to be named, told the Gazette: “It’s been a dreadful mess for months and just keeps getting worse and worse.
“It’s basically the fault of some thoughtless drivers stopping at the traffic lights there and just deciding to dump any rubbish they have in their car onto the verge while they wait for the lights to turn green.
“They seem to think that it is all right to dump their rubbish on someone else’s doorstep and then drive off.
“Because the verge never seems to get cleared on a regular basis by the council, it’s really become a total eyesore at the bridge.
“I contacted the council cleansing department about this but they said it would be too dangerous for their staff to clear up the verge because it was too near traffic!
“They said they would have to close the main road between Lanark and Forth, causing massive disruption, all this just to clear the rubbish off the verge.
“That’s just ridiculous and a classic case of health and safety gone mad.
“I have contacted the Gazette in desperation as I don’t seem to be getting anywhere using the official channels.
“It really is an unacceptable situation.”
The Gazette took up the cudgels on the Cleghorn resident’s behalf with South Lanarkshire Council.
We received a response from Stephen Kelly, SLC’s Head of Facilities, Waste and Grounds Services, who admitted that health and safety fears for staff did present a problem but added that the basic cause of the problem was not the council but the littering motorists.
He said: “Litter is not just unsightly, but can cause accidents, block drains and endanger wildlife.
“In addition, clearing litter from along the carriageway can put workers at risk.
“In this case, given the nature of the road and the speed limit, a partial road closure, under contraflow, would be required to enable the council to fulfil its responsibility to ensure a safe working environment for employees.
“An initial clean-up took place last week and we will continue to regularly inspect and clear the roads and verges as and when required thereafter.
“We would also encourage drivers to play their part in preventing the need for such works, by keeping the network free from litter.”
The Gazette has also received complaints from residents in the Nemphlar area about similar roadside littering on the route between the village and Crossford plus fly-tipping in the vicinity.