The city council is calling for street cleaning teams to keep the rail bridges across Lincoln tidy after it received reports of faeces and pools of urine left in the areas. The Brayford Wharf East and High Street rail bridges are prominent areas used by pedestrians in the city.
Previous reports show that the High Street bridge has been used as a toilet and the Brayford Wharf East multi-million pound bridge was given a deep clean in June 2023 following concerns. Previously blocked drains filled with mud and debris were cleared along with shattered glass, moss on the stair edges and graffiti and stickers.
A City of Lincoln Council Police Scrutiny meeting held on Tuesday, October 3, discussed taking action to clean the bridges. A report scrutinised the council’s Waste Collection and Street Cleansing Contract, set to commence in September 2026.
The report stated: “Recent years have seen a number of developments in the city centre that incorporate lifts, stairs, and bridges. The specification clarifies that they are to be treated the same as the surrounding streets regarding routine cleansing and will also receive a monthly ‘deep-clean’.
“This will incur additional costs, albeit not significant in the context of the overall spend. Currently, we are managing this reactively and have absorbed the costs into existing budgets.”
Conservative councillor Mark Storer said: “Shouldn’t that be the responsibility of Network Rail? They own the bridges, the crossings; shouldn’t they pay for this rather than the taxpayer?”
Steve Bird, the City of Lincoln Council’s assistant director for Communities and Street Scene, responded: “Yes is the answer, but their response times are incredibly slow. What we’ve seen in trying to hold them to account to do those things since they were installed is that they’re of a really poor standard, and we think that reflects very badly on Lincoln.
“Given it’s such a small part of the contract, given the amount of work that needs to be done, it makes sense to be flexible.” Following the meeting, Councillor Storer said: “I agree that the lack of regular cleaning and upkeep of the bridges by Network Rail is completely unacceptable, and the bridges are often left in a disgraceful condition.
“However, Network Rail should pay for the cleaning and maintenance of their own bridges. If the council is going to take on the upkeep of the bridges, including a monthly deep clean, the council should be financially compensated by Network Rail. It is not something that should be paid for by Lincoln council tax payers.”
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We have acted on previous complaints regarding issues of cleanliness at High Street bridge and Brayford Wharf East bridge by implementing new cleaning regimes.
“Our teams continue to maintain, clean and inspect the bridges regularly, and respond as quickly as we can when any complaint is received via our usual complaints procedure.”