HC Deb 12 February 1997 vol 290 c185W
Mr. David Nicholson

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the implementation of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 in cases involving itinerants and(a) Wealden district council, (b) Lincolnshire county council and (c) Wolverhampton borough; and what measures he proposes to make provisions in respect of itinerants and trespassers more effective. [15096]

Mr. Robert B. Jones

Sections 77 to 79 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order 1994 give local authorities powers to evict unauthorised campers. The High Court quashed an eviction order by Wealden district council in 1995 because the local authority had failed first to make inquiries about the campers' housing and social needs. The court allowed Lincolnshire county council's eviction order to stand because the authority had made sufficient inquiries. In the Wolverhampton borough council case, the judge said that the 1994 Act powers were intended to offer a "robust and speedy" means of eviction, although local authorities should give careful consideration before exercising them. I believe that local authorities which use the powers responsibly; and in accordance with advice in my Department's circular 18/94, "Gipsy Sites Policy and Unauthorised Camping", should be able to evict successfully when it is in the public interest to do so. The Government have no plans to amend the legislation, but have commissioned research to establish good practice.