Traveller & gypsy sites

Council-owned land

If there is an unauthorised encampment on our land, we immediately visit the site to check:

  • tidiness (sometimes this means that waste collection facilities may be provided)
  • the disruption to local residents and businesses
  • if it's obstructing highways or public rights of way
  • any activity the police may have had reports of
  • if there are any welfare and humanitarian issues.

Evictions

If Gypsies/Travellers are causing problems, they will be moved on as soon as is possible and reasonable.

Usually we agree an acceptable deadline with the campers. This is cheaper and quicker than taking legal action.

If we can't agree an eviction deadline there are powers the police can use. We have to apply these in line with the Human Rights Act and Race Relations Act, otherwise we may be challenged in court.

To evict Gypsies/Travellers, we first must:

  • Show that the Gypsies/Travellers are on the land without consent.
  • Make enquiries regarding the general health, welfare and children's education.
  • Ensure that the Human Rights Acts 1998 has been fully complied with.
  • Follow a set procedure in terms of proving ownership of land and details of the illegal encampment.

How long it takes to evict the Gypsies/Travellers will depend upon the circumstances of each individual case. We will need to take account of the issues outlined above as well as how soon we can obtain a court hearing date.

Court refusals of evictions

The court may refuse to grant an order where:

  • there are unavoidable reasons (such as health grounds) for staying on the site or;
  • the court believes that we have failed to follow due process in recovering the land.