Transport: Graffiti and Litter

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 8th July 2020.

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Photo of Andrew Gwynne Andrew Gwynne Labour, Denton and Reddish

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what procedures his Department has put in place to monitor compliance with (a) litter and (b) graffiti regulations in relation to public land by (i) the Department for Transport, (ii) Highways England and (iii) Network Rail.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse sets out statutory standards for the removal of litter and refuse from relevant land and highways. It also sets out advisory standards for local authorities for graffiti removal, but there are no statutory requirements to remove graffiti.

Damaging property by leaving graffiti is an offence of criminal damage. Neither Highways England nor Network Rail has enforcement powers in respect of either littering or graffiti.

In 2018, Defra commissioned an independent survey of roadside litter on those parts of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) where Highways England is responsible for maintenance but the local authority is responsible for clearing litter. The results have been shared with relevant local authorities and will be used in policy development.

The Department for Transport published the Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the SRN. The RIS2 includes a litter performance indicator in which Highways England will be required to report on the percentage of the SRN covered by Highways England’s Asset Delivery contracts where litter is graded at B or above under the Litter Code of Practice. Highways England performance on this metric will be reported to the Office for Road and Rail and Highways England will publish the data annually. This will ensure that there is an increased level of transparency for road users.

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