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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in a letter to the rail industry has called for long-term plans to tackle graffiti. That’s including a review of response times to graffiti vandalism so any instances are dealt with quickly, so passengers feel more safe when returning to the railway.
Grant Shapps said: “Phenomenal efforts have been made throughout this pandemic to ensure our transport network is clean and maintained to the highest standards, helping keep people safe, and people deserve roads and railways that are not blighted by graffiti and vandalism.
“As we continue our focus on building back better as we recover from COVID-19, I want us to feel proud of our transport infrastructure and public spaces. Our extra investment to remove graffiti from our roads and railways means we can double our efforts to fight this issue and represents a positive step in the right direction.”
Network Rail allocated an extra £1m in the spring to clean graffiti on top of its annual £3.5m of anti-graffiti work. As the DfT says, graffiti on the railway can be unsightly, make passengers feel unsafe and, if not dealt with quickly, lead to further crime. People often put their lives at risk in the act of spraying difficult surfaces, such as bridges or trains in sidings.
During the spring lockdown, Highways England also carried on cleaning around main roads – removing 33 per cent more graffiti compared with the same time last year, the DfT reports.
Picture by Mark Rowe; Southeastern train to St Pancras, carriage with unwanted graffiti art.