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Network Rail downplay their statutory duty on litter

On December 11, 2013, in Railways, by PeterSilverman

Baroness Kramer the newly appointed Minister of State for Transport in a written answer of 7th November 2013 stated that:

Network Rail has its own operational policies on litter and rubbish clearance, consistent with current legislation. The company operates under a network licence enforced and amended by the independent Office of Rail Regulation.”

I asked Network Rail for details and was directed to a page on their web site entitled Litter and Fly-tipping on the Railway. This states that:

“How we tackle litter – We have a statutory duty to clean up any litter on our land and we’ll always act quickly to remove litter which could affect your safety.”

However their duty under S89 (1) (e) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in respect to their relevant land is:

  ”to ensure that the land is, so far as is practicable, kept clear of litter and refuse.”.

The duty is not just to clean up litter (as and when it suits them) but to ensure the land is kept clear of litter. This means that litter needs to be removed promptly whether or not it presents a safety issue.

The same strategy is used by the Highways Agency to downplay their statutory responsibilities.

Peter Silverman
11th December 2013


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