The following response was received from the Highways Agency answering my e-mail of 28th June 2011:
Mr P Silverman
Traffic Technology Divisional Director
Dorking RH4 1SZ
Direct Line: 01306 878250
4 August 2011
Dear Mr Silverman
I am writing to you following the meeting with Jon Griffiths, Francis Cluett and myself on 27 June 2011. We agreed that I will be your future point of contact for national litter issues on the Strategic Road Network.
I will respond to the issues raised in the email in the order they appear.
We have not, to date, sought powers from any principle litter authority for officers of the Highways Agency or employees of our contractors to become “authorised officers” for the purpose of issuing Fixed Penalty Notices under Section 88(10) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. We do not consider this to be a practical proposition at present for two reasons. Firstly, unless such authorisation were obtained from all principal litter authorities through which our network passes it would be difficult for officers of the Highways Agency to be certain of the area in which the offence took place and whether powers were available to them. Secondly, whilst the fixed penalty system can work in an urban environment where, for example, litter is dropped by a pedestrian it is clearly not so easy to issue a fixed penalty on an individual when litter is dropped from a vehicle on a high speed road – as you will appreciate it would be inappropriate for civilians to pursue . Clearly the proposal to make registered keepers liable for litter dropped from a vehicle may address the second of these issues but the first point would remain. In addition, if officers of the Highways Agency or our contractors were to take on a new role, such as issuing fixed penalty notices, this would require agreement of ministers which has not, as yet been sought.
Highways Agency Roads
The Highways Agency is responsible, on behalf of the Secretary of State as Highway Authority, for the maintenance of Trunk Roads in England. Trunk Roads consist of almost all motorways and some “A” roads, known as “All Purpose Trunk Roads”. I attach below a link to our website where you will find a map which shows the roads in England which are classified as Trunk Roads. http://www.highways.gov.uk/aboutus/139.aspx
With regard to legal responsibility to keep highways clear of litter under Section 89 of the 1990 Act the general rule is as follows.
For motorways that are trunk roads (ie those roads shown blue on the above map) the Highways Agency (on behalf of the Secretary of State) is responsible for clearing litter. This responsibility is legally enacted by Section 89(1)(b) of the 1990 Act – a “special road”, as referred to in the Act, being the legal description for a motorway.
For All Purpose Trunk Roads the local authority is normally responsible for clearing litter, however, there are some situations where an order has been made under Section 86(11) of the 1990 Act to transfer responsibilities for clearing litter from the local authority to the Secretary of State as highway authority. A list of these all purpose trunk roads is attached.
For all other All Purpose Trunk Roads (APTR’s) the local authority is responsible for clearing litter.
From the link to our website above you will find a map entitled “Network Management Map”. This shows the contractors appointed to manage each of the roads for which we are responsible and indicates whether these are “MAC” contracts or “DBFO” contracts.
All the MAC areas together with the two most recently awarded DBFO Contracts (M25 and A249) are currently operating to the Network Management Manual and Routine and Winter Service Code. These contracts contain mechanisms which allow revised operating standards to be adopted as and when they come into effect. For your information our current standards, including the Network Management Manual and Routine and Winter Service Code, are available at the following website. http://www.dft.gov.uk/ha/standards/nmm_rwsc/index.htm
All the other DBFO Contracts (including the M40) operate to the standard that existed at the time of award. With regard to clearing of litter this is the Trunk Road Maintenance Manual and I understand that you have been provided previously with the relevant extracts of this document.
Please see attached copies of the last 5 Environmental Amenity Index reports for the M25 DBFO project road. The locations for the monthly inspections are entirely random, chosen by the Highways Agency Route Performance Manager.
There is no requirement in the M40 DBFO Contract for UK Highways to conduct Environmental Amenity Surveys.
In addition we periodically undertake audits of our contractors’ compliance with the requirements of their contract and their own procedures. As with any audit, only a sample of activities will be examined.
Requirements for implementing temporary traffic management is given in a Code of Practice known as Chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual
The nature of the traffic management which can be implemented is based on an assessment of the safety risks, both to the workers and the road users, at each site and it is not therefore possible to set out hard and fast rules. The decisions around the nature of the traffic management required will take into account factors such as lane widths, slip road length, traffic speed and volumes, curvature and visibility amongst others. As Francis explained when we met there are circumstances in which it is simply not possible to safely implement a lane closure given the restrictions at the site and, in those cases, closing the slip road is the only safe means of carrying out works.
Routine and Winter Service Code 2.17 Sweeping and Cleaning
You ask if this is the sole reference to cleaning requirements within the relevant contracts. The Routine and Winter Service Code sets out the performance requirement for a particular area of activity and this needs to be read in conjunction with the Network Management Manual which sets out the policy, advice, guidance and some mandatory requirements. The relevant sections regarding Sweeping and Cleaning are 2.17 of the Routine and Winter Service Code and 3.14.1 of the Network Management Manual. As you will see the Network Management Manual highlights, as a mandatory requirement on our service providers, the need to “maintain the network clear of litter and refuse and in a state of cleanliness” and a further mandatory requirement to “adopt a proactive approach to the removal of litter and other debris from the Network in order to meet the Performance Requirements”
The contracts themselves will generally call the service standards into effect and, additionally, include details relating to payment for the services (which, depending on the type of contract) may include litter clearance as a specific item and details regarding Area Performance Indicators one of which relates to environmental amenity (as described above).
I hope that you find this response helpful but I will provide further clarification on these points if needed.
NDD Traffic Technology Division