We do not remove Gypsies and Travellers from our land straight away.
When we are made aware of an unauthorised encampment on council owned land, we follow these steps:
- Check that the Gypsies and Travellers are on council land without proper consent.
- Visit the site to establish how many people and vehicles are there and complete an assessment of he general health, welfare and education needs of the group and arrange appropriate services to meet their welfare needs, for example, medical appointments.
- Monitor the situation and deliver waste collection bags to minimise the impact of the encampment on the area.
In most cases, Travellers will move on voluntarily after a short stay, without the need for formal eviction or court proceedings.
If it is decided enforcement action is needed, we will serve a notice on the Gypsies and Travellers directing them to leave the land within a reasonable specified time period. If they fail to leave the land within the time specified in the notice, we will apply to the magistrates’ court to ask for an order to remove the occupants and their vehicles. The court will decide whether to grant permission to move the encampment on.
The court may refuse to grant an order if there is an unavoidable reason for the Gypsies and Travellers to stay on the site, or if the court believes that we have failed to make adequate enquiries regarding the general health and welfare of the Gypsies and Travellers.
If the order is granted, it will have a date by which the encampment must leave. If the date has passed and the site has not been vacated, we will employ bailiffs to carry out an eviction and clear the land. We will then clean and secure the area.
Unauthorised camps on private land
If Gypsies and Travellers are camped on private land, it is the landowner's responsibility. We will attend the site to complete a needs assessment and visit regularly to distribute waste collection bags. We recommend private landowners / parish councils in this situation seek their own independent, legal advice.
Unauthorised camps on parish council land
If Gypsies and Travellers are camped on land belonging to a parish council, this is the parish council’s responsibility. We will attend the site to complete a needs assessment and visit daily to distribute waste collection bags. We recommend parish councils in this situation seek their own independent, legal advice.
If the landowner decides to let the Gypsies and Travellers stay on the land
This may be a breach of planning or licensing regulations. We would consider taking legal proceedings against the landowner to demand the removal of the illegal camp.