ALMOST 600 bags of litter – nearly enough to reach the top of Blackpool Tower twice over – were collected from the north west's motorways during a three-day spring clean.

Highways England organised the operation to coincide with the national Clean for the Queen initiative to mark Her Majesty's birthday.

Staff targeted litter hotspots on motorways around Warrington and across the rest of the region.

A total of 573 bags were filled, with organisers confirming they would have topped the 518ft tower almost twice over if stacked.

The organisation in charge of monitoring the country's road network said litter can result in 'hazards for motorists, cause a threat to wildlife and lead to flooding if drains become blocked'.

It also puts workers collecting the rubbish from the side of busy motorways 'at risk'.

Highways England director Robert Castleman said: "Our contractors collect vast amounts of litter from motorways every year but we'd much rather they spend their time fixing potholes and carrying out other essential maintenance work.

"The litter on our roads can cause a hazard to drivers, our workers and wildlife so I'd urge everyone to keep a bag in their car which they can use for rubbish and then put it in the bin when they get home.

"We targeted known litter hotspots and it would be great if these hotspots remained free of litter in the weeks and months ahead."

More than 150,000 sacks of litter are collected by Highways England's contractors every year as part of routine maintenance work – an average of 411 bags each day.

It costs more than £40 to collect a sack, which amounts to roughly the same cost as fixing a pothole.

For further information visit