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Andrew Gwynne MP has written to Stephen Hammond MP requesting an urgent meeting with Clean Highways in the light of the widespread criticism of the Highways Agency’s new Asset Support Contract

 

From: GWYNNE, Andrew
Sent: 23 April 2013 15:57
To: ‘stephen.hammond_mp@dft.gsi.gov.uk’
Subject: Motorway maintenance (6585)

 

Dear Mr Hammond

Our littered motorways

As you know I recently submitted a number of questions to the Secretary of State for Transport about the littered state of the motorways in and around my constituency and his duties under the Environmental Protection Act S89 (1) to ensure that they are, so far as is practicable, kept clear of litter and refuse. The roads in question fall within Highways Agency Area 10. In your reply on his behalf you kindly acknowledged that they were indeed below the required standard.

 As a result of a shared concern about motorway litter I recently met with Peter Silverman who runs the Clean Highways campaign.

I note from the campaign’s web site www.cleanhighways.co.uk  that:

 1.       Balfour Beatty Mott McDonald were appointed as maintenance contractors for Area 10 from 4th November 2012 under the Highways Agency’s new Asset Support Contract (ASC).

 2.       Peter had expressed concerns to your predecessor, Mike Penning MP, about the cleaning provisions of the new ASC in April 2012. He subsequently wrote at length to Philip Rutnam, the Permanent Secretary at the DfT, concluding that they put the Secretary of State for Transport in breach of his responsibility under S 89 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. He suggested that the matter be referred to the Government Efficiency section of the Cabinet Office.

 3.       In July 2012 contractors were reported as expressing concerns about the relaxed standards of the ASC, its lack of clarity and the effect this would have on maintenance quality.

 4.       The same article stated that the Highways Agency were required by the government to cut its resource funding for motorway maintenance by 25%  and this was to be achieved via the introduction of the ASC.

 5.       In January it emerged that Balfour Beatty/Mott MacDonald has told the Agency that it will not be carrying out the programme for the Area 10 North West region developed by its predecessor.

 6.       Also in January this year Balfour Beatty Mott McDonald said that their practice was to wait until there is other maintenance work to be carried out before litter picking any given stretch of motorway. This could mean that an already badly littered stretch might not be cleaned for 6 months or more.

 7.       The situation could be worse than this. The first area to be contracted out using the ASC was area 2 in the south west. Photo evidence indicates that a slip road verge on the M32 was not littered picked for over 12 months. 

 8.       More Highways Agency areas are currently being put out to tender under the new ASC arrangements.

Motorway litter is a matter of immense concern but one to which little attention seems to be paid by the Department of Transport. None of the Highways Agency’s Business plans published since the election make any mention of it.   This is surprising in view of the fact that your predecessor had described the motorways as being blighted by litter prior to taking office.

I would be most grateful therefore if you could find the time to meet with myself and Peter Silverman to discuss this issue as a matter of some urgency.

 I look forward to hearing from you.

 Yours sincerely

 

Andrew Gwynne MP

 

ANDREW GWYNNE MP

Shadow Health Minister Labour – Denton and Reddish

Constituency Office, Denton Town Hall, Market Street, Denton, M34 2AP

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

Tel: 0161 320 1504 (Constituency) Tel: 0207 219 4708 (House of Commons Voicemail) Fax: 0161 320 1503

Web:www.andrewgwynne.co.uk     Twitter: @GwynneMP    Facebook: AndrewGwynneMP

Serving the communities of: 

Audenshaw, Denton, Dukinfield, Haughton Green, Heaton Chapel, Heaton Norris and Reddish 

in the House of Commons

 

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