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DEFRA’s Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse (COPOL) was revised in 2019 and can be accessed via this link.

Part 3 is entitled “Legislation to support the code of practice”. However it includes on pages 43 and 44 references to provisions of the Environmental Protection Act which had been repealed 5 years earlier by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 as if they were current.

The provisions which had been repealed and an indication of what COPOL 2019 says about them are as follows:

EPA S93 & 94

Dealing with street litter outside premises (Environmental Protection Act 1990, sections 93 & 94). Sections 93 and 94 give local authorities the power to tackle street litter generated further to activities on adjacent premises … enables local authorities to serve Street Litter Control Notices requiring businesses to clear up the litter…

EPA S94 B & Schedule 3A

Controlling the distribution of free literature (Environmental Protection Act 1990, section 94B and Schedule 3A) … Authorities can designate, by order, areas of their own land or highways, in which the distribution of free literature is permitted only with their consent, and anyone distributing free literature in such an area without consent commits an offence, punishable by a fine or a fixed penalty notice.

EPA S92A-92C

Litter Clearing Notices (Environmental Protection Act 1990, sections 92A-92C). Principal litter authorities have the power to issue Litter Clearing Notices where land in their area is defaced by litter or refuse and this is detrimental to the amenity of the area.

No reference is made those provisions of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which might be used in place of the repealed EPA provisions or which might offer new ways of combating litter. [I tried to cover this in my 2015 post Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – Litter related issues]

I note that the Home Office updated their Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Anti-social behaviour powers Statutory guidance for frontline professionals in 2019.

It seems extraordinary that DEFRA have not brought together guidance on all of the legal machinery available to EPA S89 duty bodies and the public to combat litter, fly-tipping and graffiti etc into one place.

On 30th June 2020 I wrote to Tamara Finkelstein, the Permanent Secretary at DEFRA asking her if she agrees with my analysis and, if so, will she issue a revised Code with a corrected Part 3.

I also asked for copies of any reports which assess how the changes brought about by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 have impacted on litter, fly-tipping and graffiti including the way and extent to which councils have made use of the new provisions.

On 17th July 2020 I received a non-committal response from DEFRA. “Any upcoming changes to the Code will be subject to a consultation process, where your input will be greatly appreciated”. No reports of the type requested were held by DEFRA.


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