A government review of the law and powers to deal with unauthorised caravan sites and developments has been announced today (5 April 2018) by Housing Minister Dominic Raab.
Unauthorised sites can cause significant distress for both the settled and nomadic communities – an issue increasingly raised in Parliament over recent months.
Many local residents often raise concerns about anti-social behaviour including fly-tipping and noise, and evidence also shows that living on unauthorised sites can have a negative impact on people’s health and education.
Since 2010, the number of traveller caravans on authorised sites has increased. However latest figures show approximately 16% of all caravans – around 3,700 – are on unauthorised sites.
Housing Minister Dominic Raab said:
The vast majority of the travelling community are decent and law-abiding people. But, we are particularly concerned about illegal traveller encampments, and some of the anti-social behaviour they can give rise to.
We must promote a tolerant society and make sure there are legal sites available for travellers, but equally the rule of law must be applied to everyone.
The government is committed to taking action and is seeking views on what more can be done to ensure local authorities, the police and landowners can deal with unauthorised sites and developments efficiently.
Ministers also want to hear about any barriers to the provision of authorised sites.
The consultation – carried out jointly by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Home Office and Ministry of Justice – covers police and local authority powers, court processes, government guidance, the provision of legal sites, and the impact on settled and nomadic communities.
It will emphasise the government’s commitment to the fair and equal treatment of all communities, including respecting people’s right to a nomadic way of life, while balancing this with the interests of settled communities.
The existing powers for local authorities and the police to deal with unauthorised encampments can be found in Dealing with illegal and unauthorised encampments, published in March 2015.
For any enquires about the consultation please contact UnauthorisedDevelopmentandEncampments@communities.gsi.gov.uk
Read a report by the Traveller Movement, commissioned by the National Inclusion Health Board, looking at how the living conditions of Gypsies and Travellers lead to poor health.
Read the consultation.
The consultation will run until 15 June.