Recent Posts

This would seem to be their tacit policy of government. Here are some examples of how this is put into effect.


Extract from e-mail of 12th April 2017 to Chris Preston – DEFRA Deputy Director Waste and Recycling

You kindly sent me a link to Fly-tipping responsibilities: Guide for local authorities and land managers produced by the National Fly-tipping Prevention Group.   I have read it through. Here are my immediate observations:

Misrepresentation of the EPA S89(1) duty

On page 9 it says: “Under Part 4 of EPA 90 “principal litter authorities” must ensure, so far as is practicable, clearance of litter and refuse from “relevant land” (section 89(1) (c))”

This is a significant misrepresentation of EPA S89(1). The duty is to ensure, so far as is practicable, the land is kept clear of litter and litter and refuse.

Clearances must therefore be sufficiently frequent to keep  the land clear rather than being carried out whenever the duty body, or his contractor, decides it is appropriate.

Extract from reply of 9th May 2017 from Ministerial Contact unit:

We have noted your comments on the NFTPG website guidance.

Extract from e-mail from from Simone Cooper of DEFRA to Alice Blogg of 30th Jan 2018 (AB to PS 05_02_17):

As you are aware, Highways England (formerly the Highways Agency) is responsible for clearing litter from motorways and some trunk roads, while councils remain responsible for the cleaning of other, more minor roads.

Extract from an e-mail to Sally Hart of the 20th April 2018 from DEFRA:

Highways England (formerly the Highways Agency) is responsible for clearing litter from motorways and some trunk roads, while councils remain responsible for the cleaning of other, more minor roads


The new Litter Strategy for England (April 2017) jointly authored by these three departments make no reference to the EPA S89 duty in its 80 pages.

By Highways England

Extract from e-mail to Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary at the DfT 1st March 2017

Remarkedly the duty (EPA S89) is not spelt out in HE’s 6 page Litter Strategy. It says which roads the duty applies to without saying what the duty is. In a recent e-mail to a complainant HE stated that under the EPA they are responsible for the “removal of litter” and that their Litter Strategy sets out a vision for keeping motorways free of litter as far as is “reasonably possible”. A duty to “remove litter” could be satisfied by a clearance every two years. “Practicable” has morphed into “reasonably possible”.

Extract from the  reply of 27th March 2017 from Jayesh Patel – DfT Road Investment Strategy, Futures Division

EPA S89 duty and Highways England’s Litter Strategy: Highways England’s litter strategy is a high level document. Its focus is on customer service, recognising Highways England needs to do more to achieve its vision and improve customer satisfaction through influencing littering behaviour.

Extract from e-mail to Simon Guise from Ian, Customer Contact Centre Advisor Highways England, 10th Jan 2018 (SG to PS 04_02_18)

Highways England is responsible for the maintenance and stewardship of motorways and trunk roads in England however the responsibility for litter collection on trunk roads falls with the local authority.

Secondly, there are time and cost considerations which need to be taken into account This is obviously important  when there are safety risks, but  it is also important in terms of ensuring the the most efficient use of resources.  The latter, for example, will tend to favour carrying out litter and refuse clearance at a particular location  as part of a programme of routine maintenance rather than as a separate exercise. This reflects the DEFRA Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse with which we look to comply.

Areas such as slip roads are particularly hard to collect litter on safely without implementing a full road or lane closure. Due to this, we will often programme the litter collection of these areas to take place whilst other maintance work is taking place, to minimise disruption to our road users.

By the DfT

House of Commons 30th Mar 2017:

Helen Whately MP Conservative, Faversham and Mid Kent:  What steps is my hon. Friend taking to ensure that Highways England fulfils its statutory duty to keep Kent’s roads clean?

Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport): It has a duty to adhere to the code of practice on litter and refuse, which is part of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and we monitor that very carefully.

Wrong – the duty is to comply with EPA S89 (see above). The Code of Practice is merely a consideration. See Why the Litter Code of Practice is not fit for purpose

Letter from Jesse Norman U/Sec State at DfT in a letter to Claire Perry MP 12th September 2017

“Highways England is responsible for collecting litter on motorways and a small number of trunk roads.  ….. Highways England complies with the gradings set out in the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse 2006”.

House of Commons 29th January 2018

Jesse Norman Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) stated that  “Highways England is responsible for complying with the mandatory legal requirements under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which includes removing litter on England’s motorways and some trunk roads”.

Extract from letter from DfT 17th Dec 2017 in reply to mine of 8th Aug

Highways England does have a statutory duty in accordance with the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) S89. In determining the standard of litter clearance required, the Duty Body has to have regard to the character and use of the land as well as the measures which are practicable in the circumstances. On motorways, where safety issues are paramount, it is recommended that litter and refuse clearance is carried out at a particular location as part of a programme of routine maintenance, rather than as a separate exercise.


Peter Silverman
6th February 2018



Comments are closed.