Unauthorised gypsy and traveller encampments

Explains what an unauthorised gypsy and traveller encampment is and how to report one.

What is an unauthorised encampment?

An unauthorised encampment is where people are living in vehicles (including caravans) on land where they do not have permission to do so. It is the landowner's responsibility to deal with an unauthorised encampment on their land. Therefore we will usually only deal with encampments on council-owned land, including roadsides and verges.

How does the council deal with unauthorised encampments?

We have powers to move travellers from unauthorised encampments on council-owned land. When an unauthorised encampment is reported, we will visit to identify the land in question and gather information on the group, including how their presence is impacting on the area. Due to the high level of interest these cases can attract, it may not be possible for officers to reply directly to every individual complaint, however all reports will be recorded.

We must follow the current legislation and we always try to act reasonably when dealing with unauthorised encampments. Depending on the circumstances, legal action may be taken to require the group to vacate the land. Due to the legal processes involved, it may take some time to resolve. However, in most cases travellers will move on voluntarily without the need for formal eviction or court proceedings.

Read more about enforcement powers on the GOV.UK website.

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