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I attended a meeting of the Keep Britain Tidy All Party Parliamentary Group last night. There were approximately 40 people in attendance. in addition to the Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick I was told 3 other MPS  sat in for some of the meeting. The rest were people from Local Authorities and KBT.

Highways England Network

Mike Wilson

The first speaker was Mike Wilson, Chief Engineer and Executive Director, Highways England.

He made no mention of HE’s Statutory Duty (until the matter was raised by me in the Q&A). Instead he said “HE had a role in reducing and clearing litter”

He went on to say: “Our customers think we are doing a reasonable job with litter. They consistently report a 90% satisfaction with the upkeep of our roads” and our watchdog, Transport Focus, have commended us for reducing complaints about litter”.

Rest assured I made it clear to the meeting what the real state of affairs was.

Transport Focus are funded and controlled by the DfT who have created the whole problem in the first place

I raised the issue of HE failing to prosecute Waste Transport companies who allowed refuse to spill onto their network. He replied with the usual erroneous mantra they HE did not have the powers to prosecute.

I asked him if HE would support my campaign for them to be given the responsibility to clean those trunk roads on their network which the local authorities had to cleanse so that the same contractor cuts the grass and picks up the litter.  He had no view on this saying they had to deal with the arrangements as they were currently framed.

In this context I was told by someone from Colchester Borough Council that there is a section of the A12 that they never clean because they did not have the funds to pay HE for the necessary traffic management.

Another local authority representative related that when his staff turned up to take advantage of lane closures that HE had given them prior notice of they were turned away as they did not have the right health and safety credentials for working on high speed roads.

Littering from Vehicles

In April local authorities will be able to give Penalty Charge Notices to the registered keepers of vehicles from which litter is thrown.  I pointed out that this law had been in force since 2012 but only 2 of the 33 Boroughs seem to have ever used it.  I said that DEFRA were not interested in finding our why the take up had been so poor. Council representatives pointed out that they had not been given any guidance of the processes (appeals procedures etc) involved.

KBT announced a campaign to back up the new legislation using the theme “Don’t be a tosser”.


Peter Silverman
29th March 2018





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