OPPOSITION councillors have launched an attack on the Highways Agency over its failure to tackle graffiti inside a nature reserve.
Leader of Erewash Labour group Cllr Howard Griffiths slammed the Government department for not cleaning up wall-to-wall graffiti on the M1 bridge in Stanton Gate Local Nature Reserve.
The authority responded this week by saying that, because the graffiti is ‘not of a racist or offensive nature’ it is not a high priority and will be cleaned as part of its cyclical maintenance plan.
But Cllr Griffiths said: “I am very disappointed that the Highways Agency has not given me a firm date by which they will deal with this eyesore.
“This isn’t art, it’s grotesque and systematic vandalism and it degrades the canal side.
“We are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to a clean-up because the borough council exerts no pressure whatsoever on the Highways Agency to give this burgeoning problem priority.”
With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee approaching this summer, Cllr Griffiths said sites like Stanton Gate could be used to ‘showcase’ the borough.
“Tourism is a key revenue source and can create and sustain jobs,” he said.
“Keeping Erewash fresh and appealing to visitors is essential to the local economy.”
A spokesman for Erewash Borough Council explained that the bridge was the responsibility of the Highways Agency, which in turn contracts the work out to a firm called A1 in Annesley Woodhouse.
A Highways Agency spokesman said: “The Highways Agency is aware of the graffiti on the bridge over the Erewash Canal, near the Stanton Gate Nature Reserve. The graffiti is not of an offensive nature and subject to appropriate weather conditions, we will aim to remove it by the end of February.”