Travellers: Caravan Sites

Department for Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 14th September 2015.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made since May 2015 of the potential merits of granting new powers to police forces and local authorities to help them recover costs associated with Traveller incursions on public and private land.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Communities and Local Government)

Local authorities and the police have a range of strong powers that enable them to take action against unauthorised encampments and development. A Summary of those powers were sent to all Council Leaders, Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Police Constables in March.

Travellers can be ordered by a Court to pay the legal costs of and occasioned by enforcement action. All landowners can also use their common law rights to seek damages against travellers for trespass on their land. Ordering legal costs or damages is at the discretion of the Court.

If the Local Planning Authority takes direct action to ensure compliance with an enforcement notice under s178 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, they can recover their reasonable expenses from the land owner.

We are open to suggestions for how enforcement could be strengthened and keep this issue under review.

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