HC Deb 18 December 2002 vol 396 c834
11. Mr. Mark Todd (South Derbyshire)

What recent progress has been made in controlling illegal camping. [86329]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. Tony McNulty)

In the early part of next year, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, in conjunction with the Home Office, will issue new guidance on managing unauthorised camping. The guidance is currently in its second phase of consultation with stakeholders. The guidance issued in the new year will include detailed operational guidance and deal with the roles and responsibilities of local authorities and the police in taking action.

Mr. Todd

Can we ensure that the decision is made in the very earliest part of next year? In my area, there are typically three illegal occupations at any time, trashing our countryside and having an antisocial impact on local residents. Can we please have the earliest possible conclusion to the consultation?

Mr. McNulty

When the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister issued the initial guidance, we took the very clear decision that we wanted substantive consultation, so that when the framework and operational guidance are issued—I hope that that will happen as early as possible in the new year, to satisfy my hon. Friend—they will be agreed to and welcomed by all parties associated with this very serious matter.