Under section 89 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, railway undertakers and operators have a duty to keep their “relevant land” clear of litter and refuse. This includes station areas to which the public have access, tracks that are within 100 m of platforms (provided that the public have access to the platforms) and tracks in urban areas. Where this duty is not complied with, local authorities (LAs) may issue a litter abatement notice on the railway undertaker or operator, requiring the clearance of the litter and refuse and prohibiting further defacement of the land. Any member of the public can also take action via the magistrates court, seeking a litter abatement order to get the litter cleared.
There is no duty on rail undertakers or operators to keep other track areas clean. However, where such land becomes defaced by litter and refuse and this is detrimental to the amenity of the area, LAs can issue a litter clearing notice on the occupier or owner (if unoccupied), requiring the clearance of the litter and, if necessary, reasonable steps to be taken to prevent future defacement. This power was introduced by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 and commenced on 6 April last year.
It is an offence to fail to comply with a litter abatement notice, a litter abatement order or a litter clearing notice.