The Government’s Litter Strategy for England was developed by Defra, the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in consultation with other Government departments and guided by the Litter Strategy Advisory Group, of which Highways England and Network Rail were members. Defra and DfT officials have recently discussed the challenges of roadside litter on the strategic road network but there have been no recent Ministerial discussions.
DfT published the Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in March of this year, which sets out the Government’s long-term ambition for the Strategic Road Network (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’s 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.
We recognise that litter and graffiti are an ongoing problem on our road and rail networks and Defra officials continue to work with Highways England and Network Rail to support them to deliver on their commitments in the strategy, along with our own. The second annual report on delivery of the Litter Strategy was published in September last year and is available at:
The Secretary of State for Transport is clear that graffiti on the railways is a matter that should be addressed as effectively as possible, and recognises the wider impacts associated with anti-social behaviour such as graffiti and trespass.
Addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety, such as the closely linked issue of trespass which can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays.
Network Rail currently spends around £3.5 million annually on tackling graffiti across the network. This expenditure is planned for and is part of Network Rail’s current five-year funding settlement which runs to 2024. In addition, each railway operator must ensure that its rolling stock and stations are kept to a high standard of condition and presentation.
Network Rail also works closely with the British Transport Police on hardening the rail network to unlawful incursions. This work by the British Transport Police is carried out with other interested parties, such as train operating companies and local authorities, and highlights the series of interlinked issues behind graffiti.
DfT is leading ongoing work across industry to assess the effectiveness of current anti-graffiti measures and develop long-term solutions to better produce a clean and more efficient railway network.