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Network Rail misrepresent their statutory duty on litter

On October 26, 2017, in Railways, by PeterSilverman
Network Rail misrepresent their statutory duty on litter

On their web site Network Rail state:

We’ve a statutory duty to clean up any litter on our land.

There are regular, scheduled clean-ups in stations and 100 meters either side within our boundary. Beyond stations, litter clearing is done as and when a problem is identified.


The duty is not just to clean up litter (when they decide to get around to it). It is to ensure that their land, so far as is practicable, is kept clear of litter and refuse. NB “practicable” not “reasonably practicable”.

Also, the responsibility extends beyond 100 meters to any track-side within an urban  area.

Statutory duty

Network Rail is a statutory undertaker for the purposes of The Environmental Protection Act  [EPA S98(6)].   As such they have to ensure that their relevant land is, so far as is practicable, kept clear of litter and refuse. [EPA S 89 (1) (e)].  Their “relevant land” is land which is under their direct control and is either:

  • Land to which the public have access. or
  • Operational land within 100 metres of a platform. or
  • Land in an urban area which either:
    1. forms an embankment, cutting or siding etc (but is not part of a depot or goods yard or an enclosed area where plant is kept) or
    2. is within the rails or on the trackside (but is not in a tunnel) or
    3. is on a viaduct or bridge

Land is in an urban area if it adjoins for a continuous distance (ignoring gaps of 50 metres or less) of not less than one kilometre, built-up sites. Highways, navigable rivers do not count as built- up sites.

However, land is not relevant land if it is land to which the public have access which is not operational land (e.g. HQ car park) or is used solely for freight services.

Refer to [EPA S86 (6) as revised by The Litter (Statutory Undertakers) (Designation and Relevant Land) Orders 1991 and 1992]

All posts on rail litter

Peter Silverman
26th October 2017


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