Alan Castle: What a grotty image we present

WE have one main road that passes through north Northumberland, it is our link to Scotland and the south and it’s also a local route for those village which sit alongside it - I’m talking about the A1 of course.

It is also the route hundreds of thousands of tourists use every year.

So why then is it treated like drivers’ personal dustbin?

While driving back from some job or other last week I noticed the huge amount of rubbish on the sides of the roads, in the trees, hedges, laybys, everywhere.

There were plastic bags hanging from branches, food wrappers, drinks cartons, and even clothes and footwear lying at the side of the road - it doesn’t make a very good advert for the county. Come and see us, and be welcomed by rubbish, not exactly the best slogan in the world.

Litter is one of my bugbears. It is not as if it is difficult to put something in the bin. They are all over the place - even on the A1, although admittedly a lot of them looked very full.

But why can drivers not keep their rubbish in the car and then dispose of it at a convenient time, in the most practical way – by using a bin? It’s not difficult, and littering is certainly not big or clever.

I have even seen drivers throw rubbish out of their cars as they travel along at 70 or sometimes 80 miles an hour. That’s not just littering, it’s downright stupid. It could end up on someone’s windscreen, meaning they are unable to see.

We are all responsible for the county we live in and keeping it clean. We know there are finite resources at the county council so we should all be doing our bit.

I have seen teams of litter pickers along the A1, maybe they could do it more often, but it’s a job that I certainly wouldn’t want to do.

And to be honest it is the same in towns and villages. People cannot be bothered to use a bin which is 20 yards away, so they drop whatever it is on the street.

If that street happens to be in a residential area it means rubbish ends up in people’s gardens and those householders are then left having to fish out disgusting things from in between their plants and flowers.

All people need is a little common sense and thought for others, something which is distinctly lacking in a lot of people these days.

Dog poo is the same.

The Gazette’s campaign to Scoop the Poop seemed to do the trick for a while but it is back with a vengeance. Piles of it are lining the streets, not just in country areas but right in the town centre and on the main walking routes into Alnwick. The other day on my way to work I counted seven separate piles, that’s beyond a joke.

Litter is one thing, but dog poo is a whole new ball game. If it gets on your shoes, it is carried into buildings, it gets on other people’s shoes and it generally annoys everyone.

It is irresponsible not to pick up after your pet. People are not forced to have dogs. If you have one you take on everything that comes with it. If you can’t be bothered to pick up after it then you shouldn’t have it, simple. It’s not the dog’s fault, it is the owner’s.

There is supposed to be a dog warden who can fine those who don’t pick it up, but I have never seen one. And it’s obvious that people are not being fined otherwise word would spread and it would stop.

HAS anyone yet seen a new civilian parking officer in Alnwick? I haven’t so far.

Do they actually exist? Maybe they don’t. Maybe it’s all part of a Machiavellian ploy by the county council to make us think that we’re about to be blitzed if we don’t cough up for a ticket between the allotted hours.

I think all this talk in recent weeks of fuel strikes and asteroids has made me paranoid.