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Highways Minister fails to admit error in previous answer to Parliamentary question. Duty of candour called for.

Please refer to all posts on Andrew Gwynne MP

In an answer to a  previous question from Mr Gwynne Stephen Hammond, the Under-secretary of State with responsibility for the Highways Agency / motorways  had said in reference to the Litter Code of Practice:

“The code of practice grades litter into four levels (Grades A to D), in which Grade A is ‘no litter or refuse’ and Grade D is ‘heavily affected by litter and/or refuse with significant accumulations’. Each grading specifies a response time for the removal of litter“.

However  this is not true. The code specifies last resort response times for each type of land (high , medium and low intensity of use) not for each grade of littering. Mr Gwynne seems to have spotted this mistake and in a further  question  has asked:

“whether the litter code of practice specifies response times for each grade of litter?”

In reply Mr Hammond does not give the simple and straightforward answer i.e. ” No they do not – the previous answer I gave you was wrong”. Instead he says:

The code of practice on litter and refuse does not give specific response times by grade of litter other than where acceptable standards have not been met. Part 1, section 9 sets down that,

“As a last resort, if acceptable standards of litter and refuse are not met, response times have been set for each of the four categories by which land must be returned to an acceptable standard.”

(The answer then goes on to give the response times for each type of land).

“.. other than where acceptable standards have not been met“.  This implies that there are circumstances where the code gives specific  response times by grade of litter which is not true.

I believe that government has a duty of candour and should openly admit when it has made a mistake and not obfuscate.

Peter Silverman
27th March 2013

 

 

 

 

 

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