New litter control duty for urban railway land

The duty on British Rail and other railway operators to keep some of their land clear of litter has been extended to cover all their operational land in urban areas.1

Last May, a litter control duty was imposed under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 on British Rail, London Underground and other similar railway operators (ENDS Report 196, p 35). They were obliged to keep their land to which the public has access clear of litter in accordance with a statutory code of practice. The duty also applied to land within 100 metres of station platforms.

These requirements are now being extended to all railway land in urban areas. This is defined as operational land surrounded by, or adjoining continuously for at least one kilometre, built-up sites on which there are permanent structures. Gaps between built-up sites of 50 metres or less are to be disregarded in determining whether any distance is "continuous."

The new duty takes effect on 1 April. Any railway operator who fails to discharge it may be taken to court by an aggrieved person and ordered to remove the litter concerned.

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