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Minister’s response to a question from Christopher Chope MP called into question.

In April 2012 Christopher Chope MP in a written Parliamentary question to the Secretary of State for Transport asked:

“What steps she is taking to ensure that the A31 between the Hampshire border and the Canford Bottom roundabout is cleared of litter; and if she will publish the arrangements that are in place for litter clearance.”

On 24th April Michael Penning (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Roads and Motoring), Transport wrote in reply:

“The Highways Agency regularly monitors cleanliness of the all purpose trunk roads. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse, the responsibility for litter collection on trunk roads falls with the local authority. On the A31 trunk road, between the Hampshire border and the Canford Bottom roundabout, litter is the responsibility of Dorset Waste Partnership/East Dorset District Council.

Each week, the Agency issues local authorities with a road space report, enabling them to identify opportunities to use Agency traffic management creating a safe working environment for their litter clearance.

Where the standards set by the Environmental Protection Act are not being met, and no contact has been received regarding sharing traffic management, the Agency will write to the relevant authority asking for appropriate action to be taken”.

On 28th February 2013 I made an Information  request to Dorset County Council  for

“a copy of the last 4 communications  between the Highways Agency and the  and Dorset Waste Partnership regarding the littered state of,  and/or the need to clean, the A31 in Dorset”.

I received copies of documents provided by the Agency’s contractor to Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP) specifying when lane closures were to be made. I then spoke with DWP. I learnt that:

If the Agency did “regularly monitor the cleanliness of all purpose trunk roads” in their area the results were not passed onto DWP.

DWP were not aware of any recent correspondence from the Highways Agency or their contractor regarding the cleanliness or other wise of the Agency trunk roads in his area

In a subsequent e-mail DWP Head of Operations said:

“I have checked with other members of the team and no one is aware of any specific requests from the Highways Agency to carry out a cleansing operation at any time”

 Please refer to conversation and correspondence with DWP

On 3rd May 2012 I made an information request to the Highways Agency asking for: “The last 4 communications between the Highways Agency and any local authority directing the latter’s attention to the littered state of, and/or the need to clean, any trunk road in your network“.

This was initially refused and only supplied after a successful appeal to the Information Tribunal. The information was provided as appendix D to a letter of 13th August 2103.

It consisted of 2 identical letters dated 20th April 2012 to two different local authorities about the build up to the Olympic Games asking them to “help us to achieve safe and pleasant journeys for visitors during the torch relay..

The other two brief communications dated 11th October 2012 and 22nd January 2013 to unidentified recipients about litter issues on trunk roads. They both however post date my request and therefore are not valid responses.

The response letter can be seen here.

 

Peter Silverman
20th August 2013

 

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