British Rail used to do this, but it says that since the network was broken up it is Railtrack's job to clear rubbish, including excreta from train lavatories used illegally while in stations. Railtrack said yesterday it had accepted responsibility for clearing tracks.
The Association of Metropolitan Authorities said: 'We need more than an assurance from the new owners. Experience is confirming that we need the question of responsibility to be legally defined'.
Brighton BC said it was serving an abatement notice on Railtrack because rubbish between platforms had not been taken for months.
'Railtrack now say they are carrying out the work this weekend. That is not good enough when we have been exchanging correspondence as long ago as August. We are serving the notice in the hope we can test the law'.
Croydon LBC said Railtrack cleared up the track and trackside in the summer only after a long wrangling dispute.
The AMA wrote to the DoE complaining that some environmental health officers had difficulty in getting Railtrack to clear up lines. It said: 'The previous owners were legally bound under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and, as such, could be forced by environmental officers to clear litter considered a health hazard even if they did not think it necessary'.
In a written reply, the DoE said that while responsibility could be considered to have passed to Railtrack, 'this could only be definitively established by a court of law'.