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Who can prosecute offenders under section 87 of the EPA (Offence of leaving litter)?

What if the offence is committed on a motorway?

Environmental Protection Act Section 86(2) says that certain bodies are “principal litter authorities” including District Councils. The Highways Agency, who run the motorways in England, is not listed.

S87 (2)  says this section (offence of leaving litter) applies to any place in the area of a principal litter authority open to the air.

As all motorways run through local authority areas then S87 must apply to offences committed on motorways.

Although I am aware that S87 offences committed on local roads are routinely prosecuted by Local Authorities, S87  does not say anything about who has the power to prosecute.

I then discovered  Examining the Prosecution Systems of England and Wales, Canada, Australia and Scotland which explained that:

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) handles most, but not all criminal prosecutions. There is a right to private prosecution, so there is no definitive list of organisations that initiate prosecutions in England and Wales. Many government departments and agencies prosecute, along with charities (such as the RSPCA) and commercial companies (such as train operating companies). The common law power to instigate private prosecutions is preserved by section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 and it is used by a number of organisations who do not otherwise have the statutory power to prosecute.

Section 6(1) of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985  says

Prosecutions instituted and conducted otherwise than by the Service (i.e. Crown Prosecution Service): (1) Subject to subsection (2) below, nothing in this Part shall preclude any person from instituting any criminal proceedings or conducting any criminal proceedings to which the Director’s duty to take over the conduct of proceedings does not apply. (The Director has a duty to take over proceeding initiated by the police, immigration officers and those made under the Obscene Publication Act).

So the reason EPA S87 does not say who may initiate prosecutions is that anyone can do so including  local authorities and the Highways Agency.

Peter Silverman
17th September 2014

 

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