A primary concern of mine revolves around the issue of unauthorised encampments. Over recent weeks and months this problem has increasingly occurred in and around Daventry. I thoroughly believe that the vast majority of the traveller community are good, law-abiding citizens; however, a small minority in this community are the cause of large amounts of worry and distress.
The Government and I are committed to fighting back against unauthorised encampments, to ensure that the negative impacts they cause are greatly reduced.
To this end, the Government has recently published a response to a consultation on this subject, which will take forward a comprehensive range of measures.
These include, but are in no way limited to, consulting on:
- Extending police powers to tackle trespassers, for example, permitting the police to direct trespassers to suitable authorised sites located in neighbouring local authority areas and increasing the period of time in which trespassers directed from land would be unable to return.
- Considering a new criminal trespass offence.
- Additional support for local authority enforcement activities, for example, addressing issues around the clean-up costs which can occur following an unauthorised encampment and up to £1.5 million of funding for local authorities to support planning enforcement.
- Further reforms to the planning system to tackle unauthorised development and encampments.
I hope that, among others, the above measures deliver a satisfactory level of assurance that significant action is being taken against unauthorised encampments and that both the Government and I view this as an important issue that requires great consideration.
It is worth noting that if you become aware of an unauthorised travellers site you can report these to the Countywide Traveller Unit: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01604 366234.
For a full and unequivocal list of all the proposals being consulted upon take a look at my open letter I wrote in February below...
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