Published: 00:01, 27 February 2018
Prisoners should be used to clear rubbish from the district’s litter-strewn dual carriageways, a Conservative councillor says.
Cllr Ashley Clark wants convicts to don high-vis jackets and collect waste scattered across the sides of the A2 and Thanet Way.
He says the much-needed clean will enhance the general impression of east Kent for those arriving from Europe and give prisoners a chance to give something back to the community.
"I think those that are getting near the end of their jail sentence should be deployed to clear up the litter,” he said.
"The fact is, roadside waste is never properly cleared in the first place - some of the rubbish is a number of years old.
"This then gets blown around and you’re left with an absolutely horrible mess.
“This is a chance for convicts to demonstrate they can do something useful for the community before being released.”
In the USA, prisoners are regularly seen out clearing highways of dumped waste.
Back in 2012, a Lincolnshire MP suggested to copy the American style and make convicts work in 'chain gangs' to clear roadside litter.
Cllr Clark added: “If prisoners are sent out to clean it up on a regular cycle then I am sure the roads can begin to look pristine.
“When people see an area has no litter then they tend to take their rubbish home instead of dumping it.
“It is possible to change attitudes and I think if the roads get cleaned, then the littering will decrease.”
Cllr Clark, who says litter culprits are car users as well as lorry drivers, believes the state of the county’s roads is not something to be proud of.
He said: “It’s not just a local issue, it’s a national problem.
"But drivers coming over from Europe are seeing the state the roadside in Kent and getting the impression that our country is a tip.
“Litter pickers can’t be everywhere all of the time but we need to create an environment which is clean.
"There is a population of about 80,000 prisoners across the country - I think it’s time for some of them to be used for rubbish collecting.”