Recent Posts

Use of blocking vehicles for safe litter picking

On March 22, 2019, in Health & Safety, by PeterSilverman
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The photographs have been taken from an excellent video produced by Horsham District Council and show a section of dual carriageway on the A24.

Peter Silverman
22nd March 2019

 

The Denham roundabout is under J1 of the M40 and is part on Highways England’s Area 5 which covers the M25 and some nearby trunk roads. The contractor is Connect Plus (M25) Ltd. This post looks at their failure to carry out their contractual duties in respect to issues other than litter removal since 2012. The images have been taken from Google Street View with the addition of some taken on 18th March 2019.

The whole area was given a major overhaul in the summer of 2012 following a complaint I had made to the Magistrates Court against the Secretary of State for Transport.

NB. Please click on each image to enlarge it.

A and B –  The top pictures are from Aug 2012 after the tidy up. Weeds have subsequently been allowed to grow through the paving blocks and detritus has build up on the road. The sticker on the bollard – evident in September 2015 – was still there on 18th March 2019.

C  shows a similar deterioration. An iron stand has been abandoned and damaged bollard left lying on the road.  

D illustrates how detritus was left to accumulate in a gutter for years on end. H shows more unfettered weed growth and 5 items of contractor debris including another discarded iron stand.

F shows that damage to a mini island has been left un-repaired for at least 5 years, G shows that a collapsed kerb stone (on the west bound off-slip) was not dealt in the same 5 year period and the area it once occupied has become filled with grass. See close up taken on 18th March.

J shows another mini – island on the roundabout. It’s the same old story. Seemingly nothing has been done to prevent weed growth since 2012. Cones have been left in situ and illegal adverts on the traffic lights have not been removed.

Scrub has been allowed to infest drainage ditches and verges making is difficult to clear litter.
Contractor debris in the form
of iron stands, sandbags and
cones is everywhere

Peter Silverman
19th March 2019

 

Court finds area was not defaced by litter & refuse.

M40 J1 Denham Eoundabout aLitter Abatement Warning Notice was sent to Mike Penning, Under-secretary of State for Transport with responsibility for the motorways, on 29th February 2012 giving notice of my intention to make a complaint to the Magistrates Court about the littered condition of this junction.

On 20th March  it was still in a dreadful condition and I therefore delivered a formal complaint to the Magistrates Court asking them to summons the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening MP, to court  to defend my application for a Litter Abatement Order to compel her to clean the area.  The summons was issued on 13th April.

After an initial hearing on 9th May the case was decided at High Wycombe Magistrates Court on 27th July before a District Judge.

The hearing  took the whole day and included a site visit. The Judge decided that the area was not at that time defaced by litter and/or refuse and therefore she could not issue a Litter Abatement Order.  This was not a surprise as the area had been transformed since the complaint was made. Although, in my view, it was still not up to the legally required standard.

What did surprise me was that she went on to say that she did not think that it was defaced at the time of my complaint i.e. on 20th March in spite of the photo evidence I provided.

Evidence was also presented showing that certain areas had not been cleaned for at least 5 months including a prominent embankment and a shallow ditch in which a bollard, clearly visible from the pavement, had lain unnoticed by the Highways Agency and their contractors  through out the Winter and Spring.

As it was ruled that there was no defacement at the time of my complaint I was not awarded costs and was obliged to pay those of the Secretary of State which amounted to £8,100.  However the Judge ruled that I should only pay £2,000 on the grounds that I had acted responsibly and, to do other wise, would put decent people off from using the legislation.

I was also not able to recover my own costs which amounted to £8,811. (For the first time I had employed a Barrister). It was therefore an expensive day out.  However, I have leant a great deal from the experience which will assist my campaign.

I will issue a further post shortly looking at the lessons learnt and the light the proceedings threw on the way the Highways Agency interpret their responsibilites under the Environmental Protection Act.

Peter Silverman
2nd August 2012 

Litter Abatement Orders

M40 J1 the Denham roundabout (2011) case study

Video of same junction taken in January 2011 top right hand corner of this page.

All posts on M40 J1 Denham roundabout

 

 

Peter Silverman
25th May 2012

 

Interim Advice Note 150/11

Please refer to Interim Advice Note 150/11 Temporary Traffic Management Signing Simplification

It is not clear who has authored this guidance document but it looks as if it is Highways England rather than the DfT

It states that:

It is supplementary to (but does not replace any elements of) the existing guidance given in DfT Traffic Signs Manual – Chapter 8 (2009 Revision).

Research and trials by the Highways Agency has shown that some temporary traffic management (TTM) signs in the lane change zone may be safely omitted from relaxation scheme1 traffic management without any identifiable change in road user behaviour. By reducing the number of signs, the time spent on-road and the number of live lane crossings by the HA supply chain operatives is reduced. This significantly reduces road worker risk from manual handling operations and crossing the live carriageway without adversely affecting road user safety.

Adoption of this guidance is not mandatory and it represents an alternative approach to providing lane change zone signing

At an on-site meeting it was put to me by Highways England and their Area 5 contractor Connect Plus (M25) Ltd there was now a blanket exclusion on any live lane crossing. As a consequence they told me that litter pickers can no longer cross a live lane regardless of the presence or otherwise of traffic

This applied, they said, to single  lanes on the Denham roundabout (M4 J1) even when the traffic using it is being held up by traffic lights.

It is clear from the above that Interim Advice Note 150/11 is concerned only with reducing risk to operatives by eliminating the need to cross live lanes when putting traffic signage in place.  There is no blanket ban.

Peter Silverman
12th March 2019

 

 

Campaign for Freedom of Information

On March 11, 2019, in Freedom of Information, by PeterSilverman
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Their report shows that public bodies and the Information Commissioner are both falling down on the job.

Apart from the occasional Decision Notice there are now few practical repercussions for authorities which consistently fail to meet FOI time limits.

 

The Campaign for Freedom of Information (CFO) was set up in 1984. It played a key role in bringing about the Freedom of Information Act 2000. It now works to defend and improve the FOI Act, advise the public about their rights to information. It is funded entirely by individual donations and grants. Continue reading »

 

A27 Clean Up Campaign

On March 6, 2019, in APTRs, Highways England, by PeterSilverman
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I am pleased to support this new campaign

Link to the campaign’s Facebook page

 

The A27 is a Highways England trunk road where 7 different local authorities have the statutory duty to keep their sections clear of  litter

Clean Highways have been campaigning to get Highways England to take over that responsibility so that the same contractor cuts the grass and picks up the litter.

A litter removal crew – protected by blocking vehicles – could then work their way from end to end on a regular basis.

See Cleansing of Highways England’s truck roads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took these photographs back in 2016:

 

 

Peter Silverman
6th March 2019

 

Householders must ensure that household waste is properly disposed of.
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The table below has been taken from DEFRA’s 2018 Fixed penalty notices: issuing and enforcement by councils

 

This is the service road / rear pedestrian entrance into Waitrose in Ruislip, HA4 7DS. It’s off Kingsend – the road I live in.

Its wonderful to have a Waitrose so handy but this access is invariably a mess.

In 2016 /2017 on approximately 10 occasions I asked the duty manager to take a look at it with me.   It was never the same person. They always promised to sort it out but never did.

I gave up complaining and started to take the odd photograph when I was passing.  The three plastic floor tiles shown below were in situ on 17th November 2017. They were still there on 3rd February 2019 – 15 months later.

Continue reading »