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To get (1) Highways England and (2) councils to comply with their Environmental Protection Act S89(1) duty to ensure, so far as is practicable, that they keep their  highways clear of litter.

This means cleaning with sufficient frequency so that accumulations rarely build up. This standard is achieved by the central London Boroughs and by London Underground. It is not a pipe-dream.

Reforms required:


To reform it’s Litter Code of Practice to encourage regular cleansing, and abolish last resort response times and promote the policies identified below.

To establish a Best Practice Team to identify and disseminate best practice to and among duty bodies primarily Local Authorities and Highways England.

Highways England network

The current £4.3 million pa  funding to ORR + Transport Focus in respect to the HE network to be switched to (1) Transport Select Committee to facilitate the monitoring of HE free from DfT control and (2)  to help fund the DEFRA Best Practice Team.

HE to re-negotiate all service provider contracts to introduce a county-wide regime involving systematic cleansing supplemented by mobile teams to deal with localised littering and hot spots.  This should be subject to a tight monitoring regime.This will require significant additional funding.

Highways England (HE) to start prosecuting bulk waste transport vehicle and skip operators who allow their loads to spill out onto their network.

The DfT to transfer the responsibility for cleaning all HE trunk roads to HE.

Local Authorities

Street cleansing should be carried out regularly cleansing supplemented by mobile teams to deal with localised littering and hot spots.

The same outcome  should apply to all categories of highway/street /footpath regardless of degree of deprivation  or category (residential, retail or main road).

When contracted out councils should apply a strict monitoring regime with penalties for underperformance.

This will require an increase in funding over and above the current low level of only £32 pa per household or 0.71% of expenditure.

On-the-spot fines for minor fly tipping (this is already government policy)

Councils should be encouraged to issue more vastly more Fixed Penalty Notices (on-the-spot fines) for littering and, once the legislation is introduced, for minor fly-tipping  to  (a) deter littering and  (b) raise more funds for cleansing.

To do so more efficiently Councils should be encouraged to operate with plain clothed enforcement officers who would be permitted to stake-out litter black spots.

The government should introduce legislation giving councils the option to issue “civil law” on-the-spot fines for littering to facilitate the fining of juveniles.

Councils should desist from permitting businesses and residents placing plastic bags of waste on the pavement for collection .

Councils should embrace social media litter reporting such as LitterGram

The government to more tightly regulate skip operators and bulk waste carriers to ensure loads are not spilled in transit.

The government to consider abolishing charges for depositing single lorry loads of potentially fly-tippable waste at council dumps.

Educational Campaigns

Pointless and unproductive appeals to peoples’ better nature should be eschewed in favour of the “we are watching you” approach.

For more on this please go to my report:  Solving the litter problem

Peter Silverman
13th November 2016


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