Unauthorised encampments can occur on:
- highway land
- industrial areas
- waste land
- car parks
- parks and recreation areas
Some sites affected are more obtrusive and less acceptable than others. This is more likely to cause people to complain.
We have to work within the constraints of legislation available to us. This means it is unlikely that travellers will move on as soon as we receive a complaint.
The action we can take depends on who owns the land the travellers are on.
Report an illegal encampment
You can report an illegal encampment online.
If you report an illegal encampment to us, we will pass your complaint to:
- the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (ECTU) if the encampment is on our land or land owned by Essex County Council
- to the landowner, if the encampment is on private land
We are unable to determine how long it will be until the travellers move from the land. The length of stay depends on each individual case.
Encampments on land we own
The ECTU take all necessary legal actions to remove the travellers from our land Braintree District Council’s land on our behalf.
This ECTU follow a legal process, typically based on:
- carrying out an initial visit to site to determine who is there. This includes assessing the welfare issues on site
- serve a direction to leave notice requiring vacation of site within 24 hours
- confirming that travellers have left. If the travellers have not left, arranging a court hearing and obtaining a summons from the court
- serving the summons on the travellers notifying them of court hearing date
- attending the court to seek the court order
- if court order obtained, serve it on the encampment. This gives the travellers 24 hours to leave the site.
- visiting the site to confirm the travellers have complied with the court order
- if the travellers remain on site, making arrangements for their removal including using bailiffs
The date of any court hearing depends on the court’s availability. This is not something we or the ECTU can control.
You can get daily updates on progress to remove travellers from an illegal encampment from the ECTU. They will have the most up to date information on the status of any action.
Encampments on land owned by Essex County Council
If the encampment is on land owned by Essex County Council land, you need to report it directly to the ECTU.
They will carry out their own investigation and determine an appropriate course of action.
Encampments on private land
If the encampment is on private land, it is up to the landowner to deal with it.
You can report the illegal encampment to us and we will make sure that we notify the landowner.
If you are a landowner and there is an illegal encampment on your property, you should get legal advice before you take any action.
After the encampment has gone
Once the travellers have moved on, it is up to the landowner to clear any rubbish.
You should report:
- any damage to property to the Police as it is a criminal offence
- any environmental issues to us to deal with [link to Street scene reporting]