Options for Evicting Travellers from Local Authority Land

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Travellers trespassing on local authority land cause huge problems for councils. Travellers can damage the land and leave behind an untidy mess, resulting in huge clean-up costs for councils. The encroachment on land also disrupts the use by the general public and local residents. Evicting travellers from the land can be difficult, costly and time consuming.

The Council, as a Landowner, have several options to remove travellers from its land and by instructing a solicitor to help you, can be done in a timely manner. The options include:

Common Law Notice

  • This does not require court involvement
  • There is no penalty against the unauthorised occupants should they return
  • This can result in eviction within 24 to 48 hours from instructing a solicitor, with a 65% success rate for 24-hour removal. As can be appreciated, the quicker the eviction takes place, the less problems there are, such as clean-up costs, theft and disruptive behaviour which can interfere with surrounding businesses and local residents.

Under Section 77-79 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994:

  • This can only be used by a principal authority and cannot be used by a town or parish council
  • Under this law, you can remove identified individuals from land
  • It requires Court involvement when unauthorised occupants do not leave when they have been notified to do so
  • The return of unauthorised trespassers and their vehicles to the location within 3 months carries criminal sanctions

Part 55 Civil Procedure Rules 1999

  • This can be used by landowner or local authority (including town and parish councils) to remove occupants from land
  • It requires a procedure in the County Court
  • The return of unauthorised occupants within a 3-month period carries criminal sanctions

Unfortunately, the more traditional routes to eviction are time consuming and costly and time is of the essence when dealing with traveller evictions. At Geldards, we recommend the Common Law Notice route. We can also provide advice on securing the site, site clearance and protection from re-entry.

We recently used the Common Law Notice power to evict travellers for Castle Bromwich Parish Council. The chairman, said:

“Please accept our thanks on the exceptional and seamless service supplied by Geldards to Castle Bromwich Parish Council regarding removing trespassers from our land. The service was professional and good value.”

To pursue a Common Law eviction, you would be required to provide the following:

  • Proof of ownership of the land and i.e. a HMLR Title Plan
  • Plan of the area, showing the entry point and confirmation of how many caravans and vehicles are on the land
  • Date and time (approximate) of the entry

Geldards can obtain removal of the occupants within 24 to 48 hours of our instructions for a fixed fee. We deal with the matter from start to finish, nationwide, and where necessary, out of business hours.

Andrea Clayton, in Geldards' Litigation team, has 19 years’ experience in dealing with unauthorised occupiers from private and public land. Please get in touch via email to Andrea Clayton or by phone on 01332 378357 or 07725094039 should you require advice on evicting travellers from your land.

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