Recent Posts

A major contributor to roadside litter, particularly on motorways, are spillages from skip lorries and bulk waste transporters.

This 30 second video shows what is happening on a regular basis.

The operating company is committing an offence under Environmental Protection Act S34 (1) – Duty of care etc as respects waste

However, as we shall see, the two bodies who should be prosecuting offenders, namely the Environment Agency and Highways England, are not doing so.. So nothing is done.




“I work as a Petrol Tanker Driver around the North of England and over the last few years I have become dismayed at the litter on the verges of our motorways and roads.  My personal observations are that one of the most prolific offenders are bulk waste/recycling goods vehicles who are either using defective or unsecure  netting/ tarpaulin.   I have also witnessed trucks that are empty with no netting , where the residue trails out of their vehicles for mile after mile, further littering the surrounding area. I believe these vehicles are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the problem”  – Stephen Magee to Clean Up Britain 1st June 2020


Who can and should prosecute offending operators?

Under  English Common Law anyone can prosecute offences under this legislation .

Logically however the body with the statutory duty to keep the highway, where the offence is committed, clear of litter should prosecute.

That means Highways England in respect to the motorways and certain trunk roads and relevant local authority for all other roads.

However, a 2005 protocol agreed with the Local Government Association and the Environment Agency  stated:

In 3.1 that the Agency being a “national organisation”  was “well placed when tackling illegal waste activities to act across geographical boundaries..”  and

In 3.7 that the “Agency will normally investigate and take appropriate enforcement action against ……. registered waste carriers and brokers that commit a relevant offence”

So for the motorways etc it should be Highways England. Elsewhere it should be the Environment Agency.


Environment Agency – no longer funded to prosecute

However the Environment Agency have only prosecuted one such offending company since Jan 2000 and that was at my instigation. They have admitted that they are no longer funded to do this work.

There was no mention of this in the government’s April 2017 Litter Strategy for England  which stated on page 56:

Material falling or coming out of a vehicle carrying waste is an escape of waste. Producers of waste also have a duty to ensure vehicles do not leave their site inappropriately covered or sealed. This can be enforced by local authorities or the Environment Agency under Section 34 of the Environment Protection Act 1990“.


Highways England – refuse to accept they can prosecute

Highways England obstinately refuse to accept that they can and should prosecute these offences.

Even though in this letter the DfT have confirmed that HE can prosecute under EPA S34  nothing is done.


4 videos of litter escaping from waste transporters

All posts on Litter from Waste Transporters

Peter Silverman
1st April 2019


Comments are closed.