Gypsies and Travellers

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:34 pm on 10th September 2018.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Conservative, South West Bedfordshire 9:34 pm, 10th September 2018

As always, the hon. Gentleman makes an important point. We should always deal with such issues with humanity, decency and respect, but we also need to see equality under the law. As I am sure he would agree, the two are not mutually exclusive, but he makes a welcome point.

My main concern is with current planning policy, which allows many Traveller pitches in some areas when others have none at all. Multiple Traveller sites lead to many unauthorised encampments. In 2017, there were 116 unauthorised encampments in Central Bedfordshire, and clear-up costs in the area were around £350,000. Over £200,000 of that was spent by Highways England, with one encampment requiring over 100 grab lorries to clear up to 250 tonnes of litter. My constituents are understandably outraged to be told that there is no money for more of the public services that they want when they see huge sums being spent with no ability to recoup the money from those responsible.