From: Peter Silverman [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 14 July 2010 10:56
To: ‘Nick HURD’
Cc: ‘Will Gates’
Subject: Complaints For Litter Abatement Orders – Lack Of Guidance from the Courts
Please refer to www.cleanhighways.co.uk. As you may know I have been working hard over the last six months to get the verges of M40 cleaned up and have met with a great deal of success.
I took the Secretary Of State for Transport to court with a “Complaint for a Litter Abatement Order” under S 91 of the EPA. As a result the verges are now being cleaned far more frequently. The maintenance crews are now being asked to fill in time sheets every half an hour. The road is no longer a national disgrace. I understand that the rapid response was motivated by the personal involvement of the new Under-Secretary of State for Transport. If so, this is most encouraging.
I am continuing my research and plan to produce a report for government about the deterioration in cleanliness of the motorways. I will try to analyse what has been going wrong and how it can be put right. I will be grateful for your support and assistance in this project. I am hoping to work in tandem with the Campaign to Protect Rural England / Litter Action who have a similar agenda and am copying this to their Will Gates.
The purpose of this e-mail is to seek your help in removing a block which is deterring people from taking actions under EPA S 91 against underperforming duty bodies . The problem lies with the Magistrates’ Courts not being equipped to handle or advise on Complaints for Litter Abatement Orders. I have logged what happened with my application to the Wycombe Magistrates Court and my subsequent complaint to the Ministry of Justice at www.cleanhighways.co.uk/2010/04/12/m40-progressing-the-court-action . There are links on the page to all of the relevant correspondence.
In my complaint of the 12th May to the MoJ I criticised the poor service I had received at Wycombe and asked the following question:
“I would like to know what actions a Magistrates’ Court should take in dealing with a “Complaint for a Litter Abatement Order” pursuant to S 91(6) of the Environmental Protection Act. I am not asking for legal advice but for the procedures that a properly run Court should adopt. This will help others who may take similar action in the future”
Instead of answering this question and investigating my complaint my email was forwarded to Wycombe to deal with!!! In their response, which came after 2 months, I was told they were “analysing their systems with a view to formatting and improving how we manage such applications..” Nothing was said in answer to the above question.
I therefore wrote back with a number of specific questions about the procedures involved, for example how many copies of the complaint would be required, can it be submitted by post etc. In reply I was told they were not in a position to give me legal advice and anyone wishing to commence such proceedings should write to the Court and ask for information.
This is totally unacceptable. The MoJ should not have passed my complaint on to the very people I was complaining about. The Courts should know how to deal with Complaints for Litter Abatement Orders and they should be able to inform the public about the procedures involved.
If you agree perhaps you can make yours views felt to the MoJ and obtain from them written guidance for prospective complainants for EPA S 91 Litter Abatement Orders. This should ideally address all of the questions raised in my e-mail to Wycombe Magistrates Court of 4th July 2010,
Nick, I look forward to hearing from you