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There is no mention of the statutory duty to ensure motorways are kept clear of litter anywhere in the document!
Agency seemingly in denial over 2009 litter strategy

The Highways Agency has just published what they refer to as their “first” Litter Strategy.

The Highways Agency run the motorways and certain other strategic trunk roads in England. They are part of the Department for Transport and ultimately responsible to the Secretary of State for Transport.

Under S89(1) of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) the Secretary of State, and hence the Highways Agency, have a duty with regard to the motorways:

 .. to ensure, so far as is practicable, that they are kept clear of litter and refuse.

One might therefore expect the strategy document to start off with a reference to this statutory duty and go on to say what the Agency see as being practicable bearing in mind the particular circumstances they are faced with.

So, let’s look at what it says about this duty.

The EPA is mentioned on page 4 under “Background”  but only to refer to it’s definition of litter.

Page 16 looks promising. The heading reads –Responsibility for cleaning litter from motorways and APTRs. Surely they are going to mention it here.  Sadly no. The section  simply refers to the distinction the EPA makes between roads where the responsibility for cleaning lies with the Secretary of State and where it lies with the local authority. In other words the section deals only with WHO is responsible neatly avoiding any mention of WHAT those responsibilities are.

There is no mention of the statutory duty anywhere in the document!

H Agency press release

Robert Goodwill’s Parliamentary answer 

2009 Litter Strategy

Both of the above refer to the launch of the Highways Agency’s first litter strategy. However this is not their first strategy. In 2009 they issued their “Roadside Litter Research Strategy 2009“. It said: “This document sets out the Highway’s Agency’s strategy for the management of roadside litter on motorways and All-Purpose Trunk Roads”.

It was produced by Atkins at a cost of £117,442. I requested a copy on 6th July 2013.  My request was ignored and I eventually complained to the Information Commissioner.  9 days later on 12th December  a scanned-in partly illegible copy was sent to me. I have now requested a copy of the original WORD Doc and also copies  of the 10 subsidiary  “Delivery Plan Reports” listed in Table 3.1. These must be significant documents in their own right in view of the cost of the project. I am particularly interested in seeing the one dealing with world-wide best practice.

Needless to say there is no mention in it of the statutory duty under S89(1) of the Environmental Protection Act.

I cannot comprehend why the Highways Agency seemed so reluctant to provide me with a copy, why it was not published on their web site and why they now seem to be disowning it.


 Peter Silverman
 5th February 2014
updated 26th February 2014


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