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In spite of Highways England having a statutory duty to keep their highways clear of litter (EPA S89 (1)), the DfT, in their Road Investment Strategy 2015-2020, did not specify a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for litter. Why?

The “Environmental KPIs”  can be seen here. They were laid down for “noise” and “biodiversity” but not for “litter”.

 As a consequence, the statutory monitor of Highways England, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) have stated that:

 “assessing Highways England’s compliance with the specific provisions in s.89 is outside the scope of ORR’s functions’.

In explanation they said that:

We interpret the reference in section 10(1) to relate primarily to monitoring Highways England’s compliance with the RIS”. (See paras 1 and 3 of ORR’s e-mail of 30thJan 2017).

Subsection (1) of section 10 of the Infrastructure Act 2015 says that “The Office of Rail Regulation (now the ORR) must carry out activities to monitor how a strategic highways company exercises its functions”.

Jenny Randerson

On 4th June 2019 Baroness Randerson asked Her Majesty’s Government whether litter removal is a key performance indicator for Highways England; and if not, why not”. 

On 17th June she was told by DfT spokesperson Baroness Vere of Norbiton:

There is currently no key performance indicator as part of the Road Investment period (2015 – 2020). This is due to Highways England having a statutory duty under Section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990to ensure, so far as is practicable, that its land and highways are kept clear of litter and refuse”.

So, there you have it. Because HE’s duty to keep their highways clear of litter is a statutory one the DfT say there can be no KPI for it.

This would make sense if it meant duplicating the work of another statutory body. But there is no such body charged with monitoring compliance with EPA S89.

Also, one cannot argue that if an activity is subject to a statutory duty (i.e. via an act of parliament) it cannot be considered a function and therefore subject to monitoring by the ORR. Indeed Section 7 (1) of the Infrastructure Act refers to any function a strategic highways company may have under any enactment.

The whole thing is patent nonsense. 

The real reason why there is no litter KPI is that the DfT do not want anyone monitoring a problem that has its roots in decades of mismanagement by the DfT prior to the hand over to HE in 2015.

DfT = DefecTive

Peter Silverman
22nd June 2019

 

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