Fury at “unbelievable” levels of rubbish along route into Canterbury

Piles of rubbish on the North Downs Way into Canterbury

Mounds of detritus including plastic bottles filled with urine are polluting a historic entrance to the city.

The rubbish has been allowed to accumulate on the North Downs Way at Faulkners Lane, Harbledown, close to a lay-by on the A2.

Anti-litter campaigner Beverley Paton visited and photographed the scene.

She said: “‘This is an unbelievable assault to the senses. The smell and the sight that confronts you is a reeking cesspit in the the countryside, just a few hundred metres from a junior school.

“If you’re driving along the A2 into Canterbury, you can’t miss the continual trail of rubbish, but you will probably be blissfully unaware of the rubbish out of sight.

The piles of rubbish at the North Downs Way

“Of course, if you have the misfortune of needing to stop in the lay-by to change a tyre, you will be just feet from bottles of urine and rotting food.”

Rubbish left at lay-bys has long been the source of a headache for authorities.

There have been calls in other parts of the district for lay-bys to be shut since they act as little more than parking areas for long-haul truckers and attract rubbish.

Drivers are known to urinate into bottles while they are on the road and then discard the bottles in undergrowth.

Sian Pettman, who organises community litter picks across Canterbury, said: “Any visitor entering Canterbury along the final two-mile stretch of the North Downs Way, the modern pilgrimage route to the city, will be welcomed by one of the most abominable eye-sores imaginable.

Plastic bottles account for much of the rubbish

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of large plastic bottles full of urine carpet the woodland in a place where typically one might find wood anemones and bluebells at this time of year.

“The embankment between the A2 and the North Downs Way is a sea of amber bottles thrown out of their cabs by lorry drivers who have relieved themselves while on the move.

“Mingled amidst the sea of urine containers is a multitude of other items of discarded rubbish – brightly coloured plastic, polystyrene, take-away containers, vast quantities of cans and piles of unidentifiable waste.

“Walkers arriving in our city, people out enjoying the countryside, and those who need to stop at Canterbury’s lay-by deserve something better than this squalor.

“It seems ironic that pilgrims in the 21st century encounter a sight much worse on entering Canterbury than anything their medieval predecessors had to face.”

Canterbury City Council has been trying to encourage people to look after the district with its “Love Where We Live Campaign”.

It is also working on ways to reduce the use of plastic bottles which make up much of the litter found on streets and other open areas.


  1. Although the suggestion to close all the laybys would stop lorry drivers from dumping all this crud, it would prevent other motorists including those in mobile caravans on holiday possibly on long journeys resting. With a height restriction rather than closure of them surely being a better idea. There are signs up on motorways Tiredness Kills and closing all the laybys would I think add to the roads death toll

  2. KCC maintain the roads in the county (questionable I know) but the trunk roads are maintained by the Highways Agency . There is a remakable difference in rubbish on trunk roads and kent highways . Is this because of lorry drivers combined with the lackadaisical attitude of the HA? 2 days ago I drove on the A2 past all the rubbish ,suddenly it was coned off for about a mile and we thought we were in for a clean up , no , there were 2 vehicle 6 persons and one pothol;e being dealt with . I would have thought that some of those guys could have cleaned up a bit . BTW the HA doeas not have a specified budget for clearing up the roads . It is a syatutory duty which must not be ignored on ground of cost , but they are ! Sorry about spelling mistakes but unable to correct on this website it seems .


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