Jonathan was involved in a lively Westminster Hall debate over the government's litter strategy:
'Does the Minister have a strong view as to the division of responsibility between Highways England and local councils? Local councils are ultimately responsible to their electorate. Ideally, I think Highways England should be responsible, but I wonder who is marking the organisations’ homework and what mechanisms we have for checking they are doing their job properly.'
To which Dr Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Life Opportunities, replied:
'My hon. Friend raises a good point. I was going to bring the matter up later, but I will do so now. Highways England is responsible for cleaning alongside motorways and some of our major trunk roads, and it often contracts that to the local authority. However, to respond to one of the questions my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet asked, we are not considering changing the law or the responsibilities at this time.'
'The Minister for roads—my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford and South Herefordshire (Jesse Norman)—and I want to see Highways England being more effective. We commissioned an independent survey of every council in England that has responsibility for cleansing one or more of the roads I mentioned. Unfortunately, that was delayed by poor weather as a result of the “beast from the east”. The data is still being analysed, but it will give us a much more accurate picture of the scale of litter on that part of the strategic road network and enable us to identify good practice and work with those local authorities that appear to be underperforming. Roadside litter is a problem that can be addressed effectively only by working closely with my colleagues across Government. I will bring some of the points that my right hon. Friend has raised to the attention of my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford and South Herefordshire.'
- Litter Strategy, 18 July 2018. Hansard Volume 645