Usk Town Council has written to Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones to express ‘concern and disgust’ at the amount of rubbish and litter left on the A449 trunk road between the M4 and Monmouth.
Members say they do not want to live in ‘rubbish tip Wales’ and that visitors will not come to stay in the area if the current situation continues.
The letter adds, “We need to make Wales a place that is known to have zero tolerance for litter and fly tipping.”
Between March 1 and 5 the town of Usk ran a very successful anti-litter campaign as part of the wider Spring Clean Cymru/ Spring Clean Britain Initiative, with volunteers working hard to clear litter in and around the town itself.
But one of the areas worst affected by rubbish and litter to be highlighted before and during the campaign, was the A449.
Incensed at the disgusting state of the laybys along the road two volunteers went out on the Saturday morning and cleared the first layby on the northbound carriageway near Newport.
According to town clerk Tracey Huxley, in her letter to the First Minister, the volunteers collected 21 bags of rubbish there in just one hour!
“As well as the usual fast food debris like packaging, cans and bottles, other vile rubbish they collected included boxes of human faeces and bottles of human urine.
“To clear up this awful mess because of lack of personal and public responsibility is clearly not acceptable,” she wrote.
“Aside from environmental and health issues posed by rubbish like this being left, the A449 is a major gateway into Wales and our beautiful county of Monmouthshire and to our lovely town of Usk and is therefore vitally important to tourism and the Welsh economy.
“My members are appalled and deeply worried that the first impression to visitors is of ‘rubbish tip Wales’ due to the shocking state of neglect and lack of respect for the environment along this road.”
She added that just one day after the layby had been cleared a large amount of hay was dumped there.
The council was seeking assurance, she wrote, that going forwards this matter would be dealt with properly and effectively by Welsh Government ‘through a systematic cleaning and maintenance programme and prevention measures along the A449 and other trunk roads to keep our Welsh countryside looking attractive and welcoming to both visitors and local residents’.
“This of course needs to sit alongside broader educational initiatives which focus on caring for the environment, teaching personal and community responsibility (to adults as well as children) and enforcement of penalties to prevent and deter litter and rubbish being dumped in the first place.
“People need to understand the need to take personal responsibility and that money being spent on picking up their mess could be spent on better things like the NHS.”
The letter concludes, “We at Usk Town Council are working hard to instil community pride and lead by example in our town and we sincerely hope Welsh Government will do the same.”