- 5 updates
The Local Government Association (LGA) has said councils already take swift action against illegal traveller camps, and provide sites and services for traveller communities.
Responding to the new guide issued for councils to enable them to take swifter action against illegal encampments, an LGA spokesperson said:
"Councils across the country are providing authorised legitimate sites and services for travelling communities.
“People who live nearby need to be given a say on whether land is appropriate for travellers, and that is precisely what the planning process is there to do.
“Local authorities take swift and robust action against anyone who breaks the rules by setting up camp on land without permission.”
The government has been accused of reinforcing "negative stereotypes" about travellers by the chairman of the Gypsy Council. Speaking on Sky News he said the new guide for councils contained no new information and accused the government of grandstanding:
Travellers do not need more sites in the UK as these were already provided for in the local development plan, the Communities and Local Government Minister told Daybreak.
Eric Pickles dismissed accusations that his new policy, Temporary Stop Notices, exacerbated tensions with travellers by imposing unlimited fines on them for refusing to move if evicted.
Councils do not need more powers to move travellers on if they are causing problems, Romany journalist Jake Bower told Daybreak.
More safe sites for travellers to set up a temporary community in needed to be built if the two communities were to live peacefully side-by-side, he added.
A new guide reminding local councils and land owners on how to deal with traveller encampments trespassing on someone else's land has been released by the Government.
The guide book includes advice on new Temporary Stop orders, which give councils power to tackle unauthorised caravans, backed up by potentially unlimited fines.
The Local Government and Communities department decided to release the book after 2011's Occupy movement brought into focus the difference between a peaceful protest and "the disruptive impact of the illegal occupation of land"