The Gypsy/Traveller way of life may mean that they travel the country staying in different locations for various periods of time in order to earn a living. This has been their way of life for many generations.
Gypsies and Travellers have rights as have the owners of the land where unauthorised camping takes place. Gypsies and Travellers are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Human Rights Act 1998, together with all ethnic groups who have a particular culture, language or values.
This page sets out how the Council and other official agencies will work to balance the rights of all those involved when an illegal encampment is set up.
If the encampment is on private land, it is usually the landowner's responsibility to evict them. The Council will advise landowners of the process to do this. The Council may, however, seek to evict Gypsies/Travellers who camp on Council-owned land without agreement. Top
If the landowner is in breach of any planning or licence requirements and does not take action to evict the Gypsies/Travellers, then the Council may take proceedings against the landowner to require removal of the illegal encampment.
For further advice on illegal encampments, you can contact our Health and Housing Group on 01785 619000. Top
Each case is assessed on its own merits and a number of factors will be considered. If the Gypsies/Travellers are causing problems they will be moved on as soon as is possible and reasonable. In all cases the site is visited and every effort made to make sure that the Gypsies/Travellers keep the site tidy and do not cause public health problems. This sometimes means that waste collection facilities may be provided. Top
No, the Council must:
How long it takes to evict the Gypsies/Travellers will depend upon the circumstances of each individual case. The Council will need to take account of the issues outlined above as well as how soon they can obtain a Court hearing date. Top
The Court may refuse to grant an order where there are unavoidable reasons (such as health grounds) for staying on the site or where the Court believes that the Council has failed to follow due process in recovering the land. Top
The Police will visit all sites reported to them. In certain circumstances (for example, where there are six or more vehicles), officers may use powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. They will only use these powers where there is serious criminality or public disorder, illegal occupation of the land is a relevant factor and the problems cannot be addressed using normal criminal law. The Police are bound by the Human Rights Act and therefore would not use Section 61 powers if it would stop welfare considerations from being applied by the civil courts.
The duty of the Police is to keep the peace and prevent crime, as such they will investigate any criminal or public order offences. Trespass on land by itself is not a criminal offence and so the removal of trespassers is the landowner's responsibility, not the Police.