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Andrew Gwynne MP’s questions expose failure of Highways Agency’s new service provider contract.  Advice from Clean Highways’s seemingly ignored.

Please refer to:  Anrew Gwynne MP’s questions to the Secretary of State for Transport and the reply he received from roads minister Stephen Hammond on 11th March 3013

The minister admitted that “the locations along the M60 and M67 motorways, including the A57 circulatory carriageway at Junction 24 of the M60, are currently ranked at grade C (widespread distribution of litter and/or refuse with some minor accumulations)”.

He went on to say that litter picking had commenced. 196 bags of litter had been removed and  “further litter picking on the other M60/M67 locations is currently being scheduled in accordance with timescales set out in the Code of Practice”.

As frequent visitors to this web site will be only too well  aware the Secretary of State has a duty under S 89(1) of the Environmental Protection Act to ensure that  the motorways in England, including the verges and central reservations, are, so far as is practicable, kept clear of litter and refuse

Clearly he has failed to fulfill his duty in this case.

This does not come as a surprise to me. These motorways form part of Highways Agency Area 10. All maintenance work including litter picking was contracted out to  Balfour Beatty/Mott McDonald on the 4th November 2012. It was the first contract using the Agency’s new style Asset Support Contract.  In October 2012  I had written to Philip Rutnam, the Permanent Secretary for  the Department for Transport saying:

I would like to draw your attention to the correspondence I have had with your department over the cleaning provisions of  the Highways Agency’s new Asset Support Contract.  I believe they put the Secretary of State For Transport in breach of his responsibility under S 89 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990″.

I have been told that  Balfour Beatty/Mott McDonald have reduced the number of operational staff compared to the previous contractor from 200 to 118.

We seem to be heading in the wrong direction at a great pace.  We should not have to rely on MPs to monitor the cleanliness of their local motorways and stimulate the Agency to take remedial action. The Agency should be doing this themselves  and making sure their contractors do the necessary work to ensure the Secretary of State  complies with his duty.

Peter Silverman
13th March 2013

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