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Silverman v Highways Agency (High Wycombe Magistrates Court)

DATE: 27 Jul 2012

 

This was an unusual application to the Magistrates Court for a ‘litter abatement order’ under s91 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. A claimant, having identified an area ‘defaced’ by litter, can give notice of his intention to start proceedings to the relevant ‘litter authority’.  If the litter is not cleared, he can seek a litter abatement order from a Magistrates Court.  It appears that the order can do no more than require the removal of the litter present at the time the proceedings are started.  In this case the claimant gave notice that the verges of a motorway junction were defaced by litter.  The Magistrate held that, in order to tell whether she had power to make an order, it was necessary to conduct a site visit.  Most of the litter photographed at the time notice was given could still be seen.  However the Magistrate ruled that, given the scale of the junction and its overall appearance, it was not possible to say that it was ‘defaced’ by the litter.  The Magistrate did not rule on whether the cleansing operations of the Highways Agency satisfied the requirements of the litter code, despite having heard evidence about this. 

Richard Langham appeared for the claimant, on a public access basis.