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Councils urged to crack down on illegal camps and traveller sites

by on August 16, 2013

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has urged local authorities to clamp down on illegal encampments and unauthorised traveller sites.

His call came as the Department for Communities and Local Government published a  new guide detailing the range of powers available to local authorities to remove unauthorised traveller sites, protest camps and squatters from both public and private land. The guide has been sent to the leader of every English local authority.

Pickles said: “I want all councils to be ready to take action straightaway to stop illegal camps and unauthorised sites starting in the first place. Decisive action early on saves money and unnecessary upset for local residents.

“We’ve strengthened councils’ powers so they have the confidence to take decisive action. Too often, council officers wash their hands, and say nothing can be done. This is not the case.

“The public want to see fair play, with planning rules enforced consistently, rather than special treatment being given to certain groups.”

The measures highlighted include:

  • more powerful temporary stop notices to stop and remove unauthorised caravans
  • pre-emptive injunctions that protect vulnerable land in advance from unauthorised encampments
  • possession orders to remove trespassers from land;
  • police powers to order unauthorised campers to leave land
  • powers of entry onto land so authorised officers can obtain information for enforcement purposes
  • the right to demand further information on planning works to determine whether any breach of the rules has taken place
  • enforcement notices to remedy any planning breaches
  • ensuring sites have valid caravan or tent site licences.

Read the Department for Communities and Local Government news release.

Roger Milne

16 August 2013

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