Councils to levy 'unlimited fines' on illegal Traveller sites
Illegal Traveller encampments, such as the one at Dale Farm in Essex which led to a multimillion pound eviction last year, have brought Britain’s legal system into disrepute, a senior British minister has declared.
Councils in England and Wales are now to get new powers to levy “unlimited fines” against Travellers who breach planning laws, secretary of state for communities Eric Pickles has told the Conservative Party.
“Long-drawn out cases like Dale Farm have brought the legal system into disrepute ... A small minority exploit Labour’s human rights and equality rules and have cost taxpayers millions of pounds,” said Mr Pickles, whose Essex constituency is just a few miles from Dale Farm.
“Such episodes give the whole Travelling community a bad name and fuel ... tensions,” he said.
He added that councils would be able to impose “instant stop notices”. Mr Pickles’s move was welcomed by Basildon Borough Council, the local authority which spent 10 years attempting to clear the illegal site.