New powers to force travellers off land

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Tough powers allowing local authorities to force travellers off unauthorised sites were announced by the Government yesterday.

Tough powers allowing local authorities to force travellers off unauthorised sites were announced by the Government yesterday.

The "temporary stop" notices will allow councils to remove unauthorised development or building work from a site and move on caravans. If travellers refuse, they can be taken before a magistrate, who can impose daily fines.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister also moved to increase support for legitimate sites, announcing that councils could apply for grants to cover the cost of residential sites.

The Conservatives said the proposals were too little too late, while the Local Government Association (LGA) warned they may prove ineffective.

Keith Hill, the planning minister, said: "We have made changes to the temporary stop notices so that local councils can not only stop an unauthorised site from growing, but they can require the removal of existing caravans." He added: "Local councils have asked us to empower them to deal with this problem so that's exactly what we are doing. This is a two-way process; we want to see councils taking a more proactive approach to delivering authorised sites." Ministers said houses and other permanent dwellings would be exempt from the new orders.

Phillip Hammond, the Tories' local government spokesman, said the Conservatives would "if necessary, amend human rights legislation, so that it cannot be used to frustrate enforcement of the law".

Chloe Lambert, the deputy chairman of the LGA, said: "Determined action by those intent on developing on land without planning permission could undermine any so-called additional powers. A clear message from a meeting we held today with our members to discuss the issue is that local authorities need stronger enforcement powers."

Yesterday's announcement follows warnings that a "campaign of hatred" against travellers in some parts of the media could provoke violence.

Comments