Project information

Preventing small mammal deaths

Across the country, voles, shrews and other small mammals are getting trapped in bottles and cans littered on our roadsides and dying. We want to develop a new national campaign to raise awareness of this issue, reduce littering from cars and prevent the deaths of these important creatures.

January 2019 - December 2019

Charity information: Keep Britain Tidy

Keep Britain Tidy logo
  • Need


    Small mammals are essential British wildlife and vital to local eco-systems - eating insects and plants and acting as prey for birds such as owls and kestrels. In 2016, Graham Moates found that 5.3% of the littered cans and bottles surveyed in South Norfolk contained the remains of small mammals, illustrating the devastating impacts of litter on our wildlife. It is estimated that 2.9 million small mammals are trapped and killed each year by the 27.4 million cans and bottles which are littered.


    By changing the behaviour of those who litter we can prevent litter and the deaths of small mammals on our roadsides. Using our extensive experience, we will undertake research into roadside litter and use these insights to develop and test a new behaviour change campaign. The campaign will raise awareness of this important issue as well as preventing litter which causes small mammal deaths. It will then be rolled out through our network of local authority partners to achieve national impact.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Conduct behavioural research to understand who litters from cars and why they do it


    » Carry out a nationally representative online survey of drivers to identify who litters from their cars and to gather evidence about this behaviour
    » Carry out focus groups with drivers who admit to littering to understand why they litter and to test potential campaign messaging with them

    What success will look like

    The research insights will be embedded into our new and effective behaviour change campaign and will be of interest to others interested in preventing littering from cars.

    Aim 2

    Develop a new campaign using the research insights to raise awareness and change behaviour


    » Develop a campaign based on the research findings, alongside previous research into vehicle littering and small mammal mortality
    » Design a local campaign pack in consultation with local authorities and other partners which meets their needs so it can be used across the country

    What success will look like

    We will have a new national campaign and local campaign pack that has been tested as effective and a minimum of ten partners signed up to run the campaign locally in 2019.

    Aim 3

    Launch the campaign nationally and in partnership with local authorities and other local groups


    » Launch the campaign nationally through Keep Britain Tidy channels and media contacts
    » Recruit a minimum of ten partners to deliver the campaign locally. Partners will monitor the impacts of the campaign on litter.
    » Collate the litter monitoring results to assess the effectiveness of the campaign in preventing roadside litter
    » Share the results and learning from our campaign with local, national and global stakeholders.

    What success will look like

    We will have achieved reductions in roadside litter and significant media and public engagement in the campaign to be measured through media and social media monitoring.

  • Impact


    As with other campaigns we have designed and launched in this way, we expect to see further partners take up the campaign in the period following the initial launch. This will result in further reductions in roadside litter across the country which will be measured by those partners taking up the campaign. We also expect to see increased public awareness of the issue at a national level and will measure this through our national perceptions survey.


    There is a risk we are not able to recruit enough partners to deliver the campaign locally. By working with potential partners from the outset, we will ensure that we create a campaign which is practical and in demand.

    There is a risk that the campaign will not gain as much local and national media coverage as we would like, however, we have already received significant media interest in the topic and will develop a strong campaign plan to reach out to our extensive media contacts.


    We will share the results of the campaign with donors via a video, report and case study to be published on our website, through social media and by publishing the results in other publications such as the Journal of Litter and Environmental Quality.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £27,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £6,500 National Survey Survey with drivers to understand littering behaviour
      £3,500 Focus Groups Focus groups with drivers who litter to understand their behaviours and test campaign messaging
      £2,500 Research Analysis Analysis of national survey and focus groups plus wider research to inform the campaign development
      £3,700 National Campaign Design and development of the national campaign
      £2,800 Local Campaign Pack Design and development of the campaign pack for local partners
      £2,100 Campaign Launch National and local launch with ten partners
      £1,400 Monitoring and Reporting Analysis of monitoring results and reporting to donors
      £4,500 Project Management Overseeing the successful delivery of the national project
  • Background


    This is a national project with local aspects. The research will be undertaken at a national level to ensure that the insights we gather can be used to develop a campaign which works across the country. We will also seek a minimum of ten local partners who have significant problems with roadside litter and would benefit from delivering the campaign locally. These will be determined as the project is developed.


    Local communities who suffer from roadside litter will benefit from reductions in litter. Litter has negative impacts on the quality of local environment which can affect community wellbeing and perceptions of safety.

    Small mammals and the eco-systems they are part of will benefit from reduced littering of items in which they can become trapped and die.

    Local organisations will benefit through access to an evidence-based campaign they can use locally to tackle roadside litter.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Keep Britain Tidy is the country’s leading anti-litter charity. We are highly experienced at developing effective behaviour change campaigns to tackle litter and its impacts and scaling this nationally. Our campaigns achieve real change on the ground and have won numerous awards for their impact.

    Our award-winning Centre for Social Innovation is a national leader in using research and behavioural science to develop new initiatives to combat litter and will lead on delivering this project.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Rose Tehan

    Research and Innovation Development Manager Developing the research to understand roadside littering behaviour and the monitoring tools.

    Natalie Depledge

    Campaigns Manager Developing the national campaign and local campaign pack.

    Keep Britain Tidy National Team

    Supporting the launch and delivery of the campaign across the country.

    Local Authorities And Other Partners

    Delivering the campaign locally and monitoring the results.

Chris Packham talks about the impact of single-use plastic

We have all seen the impact of littered plastic bottles on our marine environment in recent months. We know it is killing millions of the small mammals that are a vital source of food for our native birds of prey. It is time for everyone to take responsibility for their rubbish.

Chris Packham - Keep Britain Tidy ambassador, naturalist and TV presenter.