Solihull MP Julian Knight has strongly supported new measures announced by the Home Secretary to help local authorities crack down on unauthorised traveller encampments.
Proposals published last week by the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government would make it significantly easier for the authorities to intervene against unauthorised sites, and give councils new legal tools to help protect vulnerable sites and open spaces. These include:
- Lowering the number of vehicles needed to be involved in an illegal camp before police can act from six to two;
- Allowing officers to remove trespassers from camping on or beside a road;
- Increasing the time - from 3 months to a year - during which travellers are not allowed to return to a site they have already been removed from.
Over the past few years Julian has worked hard to make sure that local residents’ concerns are heard and understood by decision-makers during incursions in Solihill. He also conducted his own research into the legal avenues available to tackle the problem, and in 2017 published his ‘Knight Report’ of recommendations to local public bodies.
Commenting on the news, Julian said:
“Every summer residents of Solihull see our parks and other vulnerable sites taken over by unauthorised campsites. Not only do they deprive our community of these cherished green spaces, but it also leads to huge disruption, as well as anti-social and even criminal behaviour.
“I’m delighted that the Home Secretary is considering these reforms, and I will continue to push for Solihull Council and West Midlands Police to receive the new tools they need to take swift, effective action against offenders.”