Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has published a letter to Network Rail in regards to the prevalence of graffiti on Britain’s rail network.
The letter discusses confidence for passengers, trespassing, response time to complaints, longer-term plans and the Great British September clean.
Shapps addressed the letter directly to Network Rail CEO, Andrew Haines, and reminded Mr. Haines that our railways have a extensive and illustrious history and as a national asset are worthy of pride.
Going forward, Shapps said: “I want us as a nation, particularly as we continue our focus on improving and developing our national infrastructure as we recover from COVID-19, to feel proud of our rail infrastructure and public spaces by ensuring that they are maintained to a high standard.”
But the amount of graffiti on our network is stopping us from restoring passenger confidence the Transport Secretary stated.
“The blight of graffiti, however, can have an impact on the confidence of passengers as they return to safely using the railway, and on the wider public view of our national infrastructure and public transport.
“Much more than that addressing visible signs of crime and anti-social behaviour such as graffiti helps to create an environment of respect for the law. This helps to prevent more serious crimes on and around the railway network, thereby promoting passenger safety.”
Shapps continued to highlight the importance for users of the railway to have confidence that problems relating to graffiti will be fixed quickly, and that the responsibility should not always be placed on the passenger to report incidents in order to bring in a hasty resolution.
“I fully support the £1 million programme of work that Network Rail safely undertook in the Spring to target graffiti, which followed my challenge to do more on graffiti, in addition to its current annual £3.5 million programme of anti-graffiti measures. This represents a positive step in the right direction while showing ambition.”
The issue of graffiti, is very closely linked to trespass, which in many cases is when graffiti occurs. The Transport Secretary explained that this can have extremely serious consequences for individuals’ safety and cause significant delays for passengers.
He also welcomed the work being undertaken by the Trespass Improvement Programme, in particular around the success of the ‘You vs Train’ campaign. He suggested that Network Rail should look into long-term plans in regards to response time to complaints about graffiti.
“In line with the Prime Minister’s recent supportive comments of the upcoming Great British September Clean, I believe that it is up to everyone in the country to do their bit in keeping the nation graffiti and litter free, and I am firmly resolved to keep our railways clean and maintained to the highest standard.”
He concluded his letter saying: “I will be pleased to take part in the launch of further action against graffiti in the future, and I look forward to seeing the results of your current efforts to focus extra attention on creating a cleaner network in South East London, which I know is in addition to normal planned spending on tackling graffiti. I would also welcome an update on the work being undertaken by the Trespass Improvement Programme as soon as possible.”