The Government is working hard to ensure all communities receive the support they need during this pandemic. It is for local authorities to determine how best to support vulnerable groups, in line with their public health responsibilities.
To enable compliance with COVID-19 public health guidance, access to basic amenities, including water, sanitation and waste disposal facilities is essential.
My Noble Friend, the Minister for Communities, wrote to local authorities to highlight the potential vulnerabilities of Gypsy & Traveller communities, noting that local authorities may conclude that some families may require alternative places to stop where access to essential facilities is provided or can be made temporarily available. A copy of the letter is available at the following link:
Local authorities are best-placed to determine when it is appropriate to use their powers to evict unauthorised encampments under Sections 77 and 78 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (1994) during the pandemic. Unauthorised encampments can cause harm to the local environment, and the rights of settled residents must be respected.