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NE Lincs A180Tony Blake details his successful campaign to get the local authority to carry out their statutory duty to clean the A180. This Highways Agency road links Grimbsy with the M180.

Action was taken only after threat of legal action and intervention of councillor

Cleansing of trunk roads which are part of the strategic network



Sent: 01 November 2013 18:47
To: Peter Silverman
Subject: Re: A180 etc 

I first contacted North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC) on the 13th March 2013 to complain about the litter on the grass verges of their section of the A180 trunk road. On the 27th March they replied to say it was not there responsibility, but the Highways Agency.  On the 6th April I sent an email to the Highways Agency to complain and ask them if it was there responsibility. On the 4th may the highways agency reply to say it is the responsibility of NELC.

In the meantime I had managed to make contact with Peter Silverman of Clean Highways who proved extremely helpful in guiding me through the morass of the legislation and associated matters, although I was already aware that you could force public bodies to clear up litter by Litter Abatement Orders. He directed me to the Highways Agency website which clearly details which A class dual carriageways they are responsible for clearing up the litter. Strangely they are responsible for some but not others. The A180 was NOT on the list.

On the 26th June I sent an email to the head of NELC quoting the legislation and threatening to take them to the magistrates court if they did not start clearing up the litter on the A180. Eventually on the 18th July I received a reply which to be brutal was not worth the paper it was written on. It tried to give the impression that they did litter pick the A180 when I knew they had not. I was a very regular traveller on it living in Grimsby. I rang them up to say what I thought of their reply and amazingly they asked me to a meeting at NELC offices.

In this meeting they tried to tell me litter picking on the A180 was not there responsibility. So I said we better look at the Highways Agency website together, which we did with no A180 on the list. They did not know what to say. By this time the grass had grown on the verges covering up a lot of the litter so I agreed with Martin Gregson that I would delay taking them to court as long as he promised to pick up the litter when the Highways Agency came to cut the grass, he promised.

In early August I contacted the Highways Agency to find out when they were going to cut the grass, they said coincidentally in about a week. AT NO TIME DID THEY CONTACT NELC OR VISA VERSA. I rang NELC to tell them the Highways Agency was coming to cut the grass and gave them the relevant phone numbers, me a member of the public, you could not make it up. I also found out that Martin Gregson had left NELC. They eventually did a small amount of litter picking and then just stopped.

By now I was getting well hacked off. And then in early September notices appeared on the A180 detailing road closures for grass cutting. So yet again I contacted NELC to say what a great opportunity this would be to pick the litter with the Highways Agency doing all the traffic management, safety and diversions and all they had to do was provide labour to pick up the litter. They were totally non-committal. Again well hacked off.

And then unbelievably an article appeared in the local paper saying they had picked 177 tonnes of rubbish. A fact I knew to be a blatant lie. They had not picked up 1tonne never mind 177. In this article a councillor called Ray Oxby was mentioned so I rang him up. I explained all the above and said unless they started litter picking I was going to take them to the magistrates court without further delay. To his credit within a day they started litter picking and have continued working with the Agency. It had taken me 7 months to get NELC to carry out something that they kept denying was there responsibility.

Conclusion: Make the highways agency responsible for grass cutting and litter picking on ALL these dual carriageways. Do not allow to just cut the grass. They should be forced to do both at the same time without exception.


Peter Silverman
4th November 2013




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