Campaigners start legal strike against railway litter

Frustrated with the filthy state of many of England’s rail stations, railways and sidings, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and campaigners across the country, including CPRE President Bill Bryson, will today use the law to compel public land managers to clear up unsightly litter.

Bill Bryson and CPRE campaigners will use a legal mechanism called a Litter Abatement Order that can compel public land managers to keep their land free of litter. If no reasonable action is taken within five days of notification, Litter Abatement Orders can be sought from the courts. Litter Abatement Orders are simple to use and can be sought by any member of the public.

To support this action CPRE has published a guide to Litter Abatement Orders which will enable people who are angry about persistently littered public spaces to take action.

Bill Bryson, CPRE president, says: “This is not a complicated or controversial issue. Organisations responsible for public land are required to keep it clear of litter. If they’re not taking this responsibility seriously, we all have the power to compel them to do so.

“Railway operators and Network Rail are not the only offenders, but they are responsible for far too much uncollected litter. The first impression for a visitor arriving in a town is often formed by their view from a train carriage, and it is a disgrace that that view is so often a degraded and dirty one that suggests a lack of care or pride in the area.”

Many people know that littering is a crime. Less well known is that for those who have a responsibility to keep our public spaces clean it is also an offence to leave litter lying on the ground for long periods of time. A Litter Abatement Order is handed out by a court if a written complaint about litter to the landowner has been ignored. Put simply, a Litter Abatement Order allows any person to serve a notice (via a Magistrates’ Court) to get a long-standing litter problem cleared up.

Bill Bryson will be seeking a Litter Abatement Order against Network Rail for continually failing to clear up rubbish along tracks in Cambridgeshire. Other lines campaigners will be targeting in today’s action include the London Bridge station (London) and its approaches, St Austell (Cornwall), Hersham (Surrey), Ainsdale Station (Merseyside), Clacton-on-Sea (Essex) and Gravesend (Kent). Campaigners will be exercising their statutory rights if litter around these stations is not cleared.


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