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Rural groups welcome Government's review of law around illegal traveller sites

Ministers will review the effectiveness of laws designed to tackle unauthorised developments and encampments set up by travellers.



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A House of Commons debate heard some MPs’ constituents believed there was one law for travellers and one for the rest of the society.

 

Communities Minister Alok Sharma said: "Within the settled community the view is that if they were flouting the law in the same way as a small percentage of travellers they would be treated more harshly by the authorities.”

 

MPs cited cases where travelling communities had behaved in an anti-social manner and left huge amounts of rubbish. In one case, human waste was found in a children’s play area.

 

CLA director of policy and advice Christopher Price said illegal encampments in rural areas had a detrimental economic, environmental and social impact on local businesses and communities as well as to the private landowner.

 

Travellers who occupy land illegally should not be given significant protections which prevent their lawful removal,” said Mr Price.

 

“Existing powers of enforcement could be used much more effectively on private land if the local authority, police and other relevant agencies had a more co-ordinated approach and used their joint resources at an earlier stage in the development of an illegal camp.

 

“To really tackle illegal sites, the Government must ensure there is suitable provision of lawful camps to avoid the issues that arise from unauthorised encampments.”

 

The CLA and other rural groups will respond to the consultation in due course.


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