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Litter Debate in Westminster Hall – 18th July 2018

On July 23, 2018, in Parliament, by PeterSilverman
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Snippets from Theresa Villiers MP If we are to tackle the litter that we can see through our car or bus windows every day, we need to ​address the problem of divided responsibilities and introduce clearer lines of accountability. That point was made by Peter Silverman of the Clean Highways campaign, and I would like […]

Snippets from Theresa Villiers MP

If we are to tackle the litter that we can see through our car or bus windows every day, we need to address the problem of divided responsibilities and introduce clearer lines of accountability. That point was made by Peter Silverman of the Clean Highways campaign, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for the briefing he provided for the debate and for his determined work to highlight these important matters.

… Will the Government consider reforming the law to provide that the body responsible for maintaining a road and the roadside is also the one tasked with clearing litter from that roadside? In particular, that reform would mean that Highways England had an increased duty to clear the litter around all the roads for which it is responsible, and it would make it much easier to combine work such as trimming roadside vegetation with litter picking, so clearance could take place more regularly and efficiently.

…. Section 89 of the 1990 Act imposes a statutory duty on Highways England and local authorities to clear litter and refuse from roads where they are the designated authority.

… a significant proportion of it will have blown off skip vans or lorries with open loads.a significant proportion of it will have blown off skip vans or lorries with open loads. I urge both the Environment Agency and Highways England to give higher priority to prosecuting that kind of waste crime

…. it is also important to note that there is a shortage of overnight provision for HGV drivers, and finding more space for those kinds of facilities—including, of course, litter bins and waste disposal facilities—is an important part of a strategy to tackle roadside litter.

….. Fly-tipping is a serious crime that enrages those constituents affected by it. I believe that the police and prosecution authorities, including the Environment Agency, should pursue offenders more vigorously and seek the maximum penalties available for that crime.

Snippets from Therese Coffey MP Under- secretary of State at DEFRA

Dealing with litter is costly. In 2016-17, local authorities spent £682 million, or £29 per household, to keep our streets clean. In addition, Highways England spends at least £6 million a year on collecting litter from the strategic road network. Those funds could be better used to deliver the range of important services provided by our councils.

….The big change has been to make the owner, or more precisely the keeper, of a vehicle liable for littering offences committed from it, although I recognise that this power has already been in place in London councils for some time. However, I understand that only one London council uses it, and that is Wandsworth and not, sadly, Barnet.

Jonathan Lord MP

Does the Minister have a strong view as to the division of responsibility between Highways England and local councils? Local councils are ultimately responsible to their electorate. Ideally, I think Highways England should be responsible, but I wonder who is marking the organisations’ homework and what mechanisms we have for checking they are doing their job properly.

Therese Coffey MP (snippets)

However, to respond to one of the questions my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet  [Theresa Villiers] asked, we are not considering changing the law or the responsibilities at this time.

Highways England has removed more than 12,000 bags of litter in the past year from the 25 identified hotspots. It found that, for February to April 2017, customer reports of littering had reduced by 70%, as compared with the same period in 2016

Highways England has also been working to improve collaboration between its contractors and local authorities, including by enabling local authority litter pickers to access roads for which they are responsible while Highways England has closed them for routine maintenance, which makes it easier to clean high-speed roads.

Read the debate in Hansard

 

 

Litter Code of Practice 2018 – Scotland

On July 17, 2018, in Litter Code of Practice, by PeterSilverman
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Litter Code of Practice 2018 – Scotland  

Gov.policy: Dumb down Highways England’s statutory duty – more evidence

On July 9, 2018, in DEFRA, DfT, Highways England, Legislation, Litter Code of Practice, by PeterSilverman
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Please refer to Gov. policy: Ignore or dumb down the statutory duty on litter On page 9 of the Fly-tipping responsibilities: Guide for local authorities and land managers  it says: “Under Part 4 of EPA 90 “principal litter authorities” must ensure, so far as is practicable, clearance of litter and refuse from “relevant land””. See e-mail of […]

Please refer to Gov. policy: Ignore or dumb down the statutory duty on litter

On page 9 of the Fly-tipping responsibilities: Guide for local authorities and land managers  it says: “Under Part 4 of EPA 90 “principal litter authorities” must ensure, so far as is practicable, clearance of litter and refuse from “relevant land””. See e-mail of 12th April 2017 to DEFRA

DEFRA wrote in an e-mail to Alice Blogg of 30th Jan 2018 : As you are aware, Highways England (formerly the Highways Agency) is responsible for clearing litter from motorways and some trunk roads, while councils remain responsible for the cleaning of other, more minor roads.

In reply to her e-mail to Lord Gardiner DEFRA wrote to Sally Hart onthe 20th April 2018  saying: Highways England (formerly the Highways Agency) is responsible for clearing litter from motorways and some trunk roads, while councils remain responsible for the cleaning of other, more minor roads

In an e-mail to Sarah Crawford HE stated that under the EPA they are responsible for the removal of litter.

HE wrote to Simon Guise saying: Highways England is responsible for the maintenance and stewardship of motorways and trunk roads in England however the responsibility for litter collection on trunk roads falls with the local authority.

HE wrote in a letter of 19th April 2018 to a complainant: Secondly, there are time and cost considerations which need to be taken into account This is obviously important when there are safety risks, but it is also important in terms of ensuring the the most efficient use of resources. The latter, for example, will tend to favour carrying out litter and refuse clearance at a particular location as part of a programme of routine maintenance rather than as a separate exercise. This reflects the DEFRA Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse with which we look to comply.

DEFRA wrote to Nigel Hawkey in an e-mail of 19th June 2018 that “Local councils are responsible for keeping their relevant land clear of litter and refuse” which is consistent with the statutory duty. However, later in the same letter they say that Highways England are “responsible for clearing litter from motorways and some trunk roads”.

Peter Silverman
19th July 2018

 

Litter enforcement links from DEFRA

On June 20, 2018, in DEFRA, Fixed Penalty Notices, Litter fines, Local Authorities, by PeterSilverman
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Consultation document – Reducing litter; Proportionate enforcement644.7 kB (PDF document) The Environmental Offences (Fixed Penalties) (England) Regulations 2017 The Littering from Vehicles Outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018 Fixed penalty notices: issuing and enforcement by councils Enforcement officers: issuing fixed penalty notices Statutory guidance to local authorities on the civil enforcement of parking contraventions […]

Pointless DEFRA publication – spurious HE figures quoted as fact

On June 20, 2018, in DEFRA, Highways England, Litter Strategy, by PeterSilverman
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No mention of fall in spending on street cleaning Spurious Highways England figures given credence by DEFRA Research and analysis – Litter and littering in England 2016 to 2017 – Published 12 February 2018 This seems to be a pointless document. It is largely about measuring litter. But what is the point? We know there is […]

No mention of fall in spending on street cleaning

Spurious Highways England figures given credence by DEFRA

Research and analysis – Litter and littering in England 2016 to 2017 – Published 12 February 2018

This seems to be a pointless document.

It is largely about measuring litter. But what is the point? We know there is a massive problem but nothing meaningful seems to be being done to remedy the problem – just more reports, strategy documents etc – like this one.

Street cleaning expenditure by councils

The report states that local authorities spent £682 million on street cleaning in 2016/17

What it does not say is that this was a fall of 12% on the previous year and a further fall is budgeted for the current year.  Read more here

Spending by Highways England

It goes on to say “In addition Highways England spends at least £6 million a year on collecting litter from the Strategic Road Network”

This implies there is some purposeful, costed and controlled activity going on which is simply not the case.

While the DfT of course provides Highways England with funding to cover or maintenance work no specific amount is identified as being for litter collection.  HE follow the same procedure with their contractors. HE do not therefore know how much they are paying them for litter collection.

The contractors in turn do not know how much they are spending as they do not employ dedicated staff to carry out litter collection. As one depot manager described it to me litter-picking was as a fill-in job that their skilled staff carried out when they had nothing else to do.

The figure of £6.0 million I suspect is based on multiplying the number of bags of litter collected pa of 200,000 by a cost per bag of £30. But where has this cost/bag – its often quoted as £40 – come from. HE simply asked their contractors how much they thought they were spending on litter picking and then divided this by the number of bags collected.  In other words the £6.0 million  is simply a figure off the top of the heads of the contractors!

Peter Silverman
20th June 2018

 

 

Council spending on street cleaning has fallen by 26% in real terms

On June 20, 2018, in Local Authorities, by PeterSilverman
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Council spending on street cleaning falls by 12% to only £30 per household per annum

As reported in the Government’s Litter Strategy for England local councils spent a total of £778 million on street cleaning in 2015/16. This is an average per household of only £34.4 pa.

In 2009/10 they spent £870 million or £39.8 pa per household.

As prices had increased by 17.7% in this period the per household spend fell by 26% in real terms.

In contrast in 2015/16 we spent £187 per household on “hairdressing and beauty treatments” –  over 5 times as much as on street cleaning?

 

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Concerns over WASTE 24 roadside litter picking guidelines

On June 19, 2018, in Health & Safety, by PeterSilverman
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This guidance is wrong to equate the risks associated with picking litter with those of fixed road works.

Concern expressed over HSE guidance  on roadside litter picking (WASTE 24)

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Key reference documents

On June 17, 2018, in Uncategorized, by PeterSilverman
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Report – Solving the litter problem Report – Litter on motorways and trunk roads Key recommendations

E-mail to DEFRA Permanent Secretary – Large scale fly-tipping

On May 22, 2018, in DEFRA, Fly-tipping, by PeterSilverman
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Why fly-tipping gangs can act with impunity

Fly-tipping gangs such as the one that dumped this rubbish in Enfield can act with impunity.

The Environment Agency only took between 3 to 5 perpetrators to court 2017.

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M25 contract – litter picking

On May 17, 2018, in Area 5, DBFO contracts, Highways England, M25, by PeterSilverman
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M25 (Area 5) contract – sweeping and cleaning

On 14th Feb 2018 I asked HE for a copy of the section of the M25 / Connect Plus contract that specifies what the contractor has to do re litter etc. and how this is monitored by HE. Continue reading »