New guidance issued on travellers and protest groups

Posted: 29/08/2012

The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has issued new guidance to all councils and land owners across the country on how to deal with travellers and protest groups setting camps up on both public and private land.

The advice stated that swift action needs to be taken to remove illegal and unauthorised campers and also sets out the strong powers that councils and land owners have to remove encampments. The guidance promotes the joining of councils with the Highways Agency and Police to make full use of the powers that they have been given by the Government.

Councils across the country have recently seen the number of unauthorised campers and travellers rise, especially at the weekends when council officers are closed according to the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The following powers are available to councils and land owners;

  • Ensuring sites have valid caravan or tent site licenses.
  • Pre-emptive injunctions to protect vulnerable land from unauthorised encampments.
  • Powers of entry onto land so authorised officers can obtain information for enforcement purposes..
  • Police powers to order unauthorised campers to leave land.
  • Temporary stop notices to stop work that breaches planning rules, allowing councils to decide whether further enforcement action is needed.
  • Planning contravention notices to stop work on development if there appears to be a breach of planning rules or a council needs more information about the activities on the land.
  • Enforcement notices to remedy a breach of planning rules.
  • Possession orders to remove trespassers from land.

For those law abiding travellers, the Government have introduced new rights which include rights on authorised council sites and stronger tenancy rights as well as incentives through the New Homes Bonus scheme for council to build more sites for travellers as well as the abolition of the Whitehall Planning Circulars on travellers.

Have you ever had to deal with travellers or protest groups that have descended on your land or on public land near you?

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd
www.paliltd.com

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