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Monday, 14 February 2011 (3012124)
Ainsdale station targeted in railway litter campaign
by David Simister


AINSDALE station will be one of several targeted in a legal battle to clear litter from the nation's rail network, a group led by travel author Bill Bryson said this week.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England, which the Notes From a Small Country author is president of, said it had identified the station as one its campaigners would be looking to serve a Litter Abatement Order on, in a legal challenge which would compel owners Network Rail to clean the site up.

Mr Bryson said:

“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.”

The campaign comes after Mr Bryson was frustrated in his efforts to clear railways in Cambridgeshire of their litter, and among other stations across the countryside to be targeted by the group are St Austell in Cornwall, Hersham in Surrey, and Clacton-on-Sea in Essex.

Network Rail's spokesperson for the north west responded to the group's campaign by saying its teams regularly remove litter from the rail network already.

“As one of Britain’s biggest landowners we remove thousands of tonnes of litter every year. If reported by the public, we aim to remove litter within 20 days. Our dedicated maintenance teams regularly remove litter as part of their day to day responsibilities and we work closely with our contractors and projects to keep the areas in which they are working free of litter.

”We are also proud to be a founding member of the Litter Challenge Group and work closely with DEFRA and Keep Britain Tidy. We appreciate the concerns of CPRE, but we are surprised by their plans to encourage litter abatement notices to be served upon us. As well as joining us in support of the new Love Where You Live Campaign and following our meeting with CPRE in the summer of last year, we asked to speak to them again but the CPRE has not given us a date.“

Do you know of a railway near you that suffers from litter problems? Send us your pictures to david.simister@champnews.com






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