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Government launches review of law and powers to tackle unauthorised sites

The government has launched a review of the law and powers to deal with unauthorised caravan sites and developments.

The consultation, which can be viewed here, is being carried out jointly by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.

It covers police and local authority powers, court processes, government guidance, the provision of legal sites, and the impact on settled and nomadic communities.

The government said it would emphasise its commitment “to the fair and equal treatment of all communities, including respecting people’s right to a nomadic way of life, while balancing this with the interests of settled communities”.

It added that the issue had been increasingly raised in Parliament over recent months.

Since 2010, the number of traveller caravans on authorised sites has increased. “However latest figures show approximately 16% of all caravans – around 3,700 – are on unauthorised sites.”

Housing Minister Dominic Raab said: “The vast majority of the travelling community are decent and law-abiding people. But, we are particularly concerned about illegal traveller encampments, and some of the anti-social behaviour they can give rise to.

“We must promote a tolerant society and make sure there are legal sites available for travellers, but equally the rule of law must be applied to everyone.”

The government said it was seeking views on what more could be done to ensure local authorities, the police and landowners can deal with unauthorised sites and developments efficiently. Ministers also want to hear about any barriers to the provision of authorised sites, it added.

The existing powers for local authorities and the police to deal with unauthorised encampments can be found in Dealing with illegal and unauthorised encampments, published in March 2015.

The consultation closes at 11.45 on 15 June 2018.

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