Published: 06:00, 21 July 2021
| Updated: 08:45, 21 July 2021
There's an old saying - if you want a job done properly, do it yourself.
And sadly that is the conclusion businessman Danny Lucas has come to after years of trying to put pressure on councils - in particular Tonbridge and Malling council - to do a better job with its street cleaning.
Danny Lucas wants businesses to help keep Britain tidy
After launching LitterGram in 2015 and publicly calling on his MP to do something about the mess, he's started a new campaign and wants other people to get on board too.
He said: "I am proud to be British. However when I look around Britain I can't see what's so great about it any more.
"Littering has increased by 500% since the 1960s and 48% of the population now admit to dropping litter.
"We spend £1bn per year tackling the problem and are officially the third most littered nation in the developed world."
He has tried many initiatives to counter the problem and is now trying a more direct method.
Mr Lucas, from Hadlow, has organised a team of volunteers to adopt one particularly bad area - the stretch of the London Road in Wrotham between the M20 roundabout and the M26 roundabout - and arranged a series of work parties.
He supported the six-man team with hi-vis vests, a van to carry their equipment and a marshal to ensure road safety, as well as joining the work party himself.
He said: "We will return on a Sunday morning every three months."
His hope is that other firms will make a similar pledges to adopt a section of highway in their own area.
He said: "I hope others will follow suit."
To inspire them to do so, LitterGram has provided a template of what is needed.
Mr Lucas said: "It's a no-brainer and costs almost nothing but a small amount of time.
"It doesn't make sense that our authorities don't do it when its their job, by hey ho, that will never change, hence we all need to take the lead and do their job for them."
His team went a lot farther than just picking up discarded Coke cans.
They swept and weeded shaded areas of roads, junctions and lay-bys and also washed dirty traffic signs.
Mr Lucas said: "On average each safety island resulted in 18 sacks of debris and required all safety signs to be deep cleaned with many of them unreadable.
"We found litter dated back to 2016 and lots of dumped highways equipment such as signs, sandbags and cones tossed in bushed and thrown down side embankments.
"It would also appear that there is not one cats eye intact on the entire road - pretty incredible when you think they are a key safety factor."
Local businesses and organisations have the opportunity to take back control of our neglected communities and bring back pride to the area and people.
"Together we can make sure that Kent truly is the Garden of England."
Mr Lucas' other initiatives have included producing a two-minute animated educational anti-littering film that could be shown to school-children at assemblies.
He gained more than 1,000 signatures on a petition urging Tonbridge and Malling council to improve its street cleansing
In October last year, he published scores of photographs of littering in Tonbridge and Malling.
He tried to recruit his MP Tom Tugendhat to put pressure on the council, and when that failed, in March this year he toured the borough with a mobile billboard saying "Even the local MP doesn't care. It's not good Tom."
The council has been approached for comment.