Unauthorised Traveller Encampments

Unauthorised traveller encampments are a nuisance for local communities and a completely inappropriate use of open space — whether it is highway land, Ministry of Defence land, school fields or otherwise. People are rightly frustrated at the length of time processes seem to take within the law.

While it was the last Conservative government — back in 1994 — that ensured some powers exist for local authorities and the police to deal with unauthorised traveller encampments, it is time to bring those powers up to date, to tackle the problems that people are facing today.

As I said in Parliament, “We do have discrimination in this country, not against Travellers and Gypsies, given the number of advocates they clearly have on the Opposition Benches, but against the hard-working, honest residents of communities up and down the land, the silent majority and too often the forgotten people.” 

There is not a level playing field and something must be done. This petition aims to do just that and I would strongly urge you to sign it, then share it — with your neighbours, friends and family.

It urges HM Government to strengthen police powers by giving the police the power to direct trespassers to leave simply because of trespassing — and before damage, abuse or six vehicles occurs. It calls on the government to strengthen Section 62A of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 also. Currently, police can direct travellers to leave an unauthorised site if there is a suitable pitch provided by the council elsewhere in Hampshire. The petition calls on the government to allow council pitches within 25 miles — even if this requires crossing the county boundary. And, as many travellers submit retrospective planning applications for unauthorised building work, the petition calls for “a presumption against illegal encampments whereby appellants cannot be resident while appealing”.

Unauthorised Traveller Encampments

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To the House of Commons.

The Humble Petition of the people of Hampshire,


That urgent action must be taken concerning unauthorised traveller encampments, which are a nuisance for local communities and a completely inappropriate use of open space—whether it is highway land, Ministry of Defence land, or otherwise; further that unauthorised encampments weaken community cohesion and cause local authority expenditure on eviction and the clearing up of illegal sites; further that we have discrimination in this country against the silent majority of hardworking, law-abiding residents of communities up and down the land; and further that more must be done to treat unauthorised traveller encampments as a criminal rather than civil matter by strengthening police powers to tackle illegal encampments and protecting them from legal challenge in the exercise of current powers.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House urges HM Government to take all possible steps to grant the police additional powers to remove illegal encampments where they are causing a public nuisance as determined by the decision of a principal local Council; further that the ability of travellers to play the planning system is removed by enshrining a presumption against illegal encampments whereby appellants cannot be resident while appealing; further that powers under Section 62A of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 be extended to define caravan sites within 25 miles as relevant, in addition to those situated in the area of a local authority within whose area the land is situated; and further that Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 be amended to remove the conditions in subsection (1)—namely conditions (a) and (b) and the conditions of “two or more persons”, “reasonable steps have been by or on behalf of the occupier to ask them to leave”—in order to make it an offence for a trespasser to fail to comply with a direction by police to leave land and remove vehicles or property, as in Section 24 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002, an Act of the Parliament of the Republic of Ireland.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.
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Local MP Says Police Need More Powers

Member of Parliament for North East Hampshire, Ranil Jayawardena MP, presented his petition on unauthorised traveller encampments to the House of Commons on Wednesday 13th June 2018.

Almost two thousand residents of North East Hampshire and the wider United Kingdom signed his petition.

Ranil Jayawardena MP Opinion Piece—June 2018

Since my election in 2015, I have received almost 10,000 pieces of casework—ranging from animal cruelty to the Yemen. Almost none have been as ongoing and persistent, however, as concerns over unauthorised traveller encampments and the behaviour in and around them.

Local MP Calls for Level Playing Field for Residents Facing Unruly Travellers

Ranil Jayawardena – Member of Parliament for North East Hampshire – took the opportunity at a recent Parliamentary Debate on “Gypsies and Travellers and local communities” to speak out for local constituents, calling for reform of the outdated law in this area which puts the interests of travelle