Travellers - illegal encampments

Responding to unauthorised traveller encampments

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 and more likely to cause public complaint.

As a local authority we have to work within the constraints of legislation available to us which means it is unlikely that travellers will be removed immediately upon complaint.

Braintree District Council will take appropriate action depending upon the ownership of the land that the travellers are on.

Braintree District Council owned land

Once an unauthorised encampment is reported, this will be confirmed and reported to Essex County Council’s Traveller Unit (ECTU).  Since August 2016, Braintree District Council has an agreement in place with Essex County Council for them to undertake all necessary legal actions to remove the Travellers from Braintree District Council’s land on our behalf.  This process is bound by the legal process and typically entails the following stages:

  • Initial visit to site to determine who is there including assessment of Welfare issues on site.
  • Serve a ‘Direction to Leave’ Notice requiring vacation of site within 24 hours.
  • Confirm that Travellers have left.  If not, arrange Court Hearing and obtain Summons from the Court.
  • Serve Summons on Travellers notifying them of Court hearing date.
  • Attend Court seeking Court Order.
  • If Court Order obtained, serve it on the encampment.  This gives the Travellers 24 hours to vacate the site.
  • Visit site to confirm compliance with Court Order.
  • If Travellers remain on site arrangements can then be made to remove them from site, if necessary through use of Bailiffs.

The date of any Court Hearing is dependent on Court availability and this is beyond the control of ECTU or Braintree District Council.

After the initial arrival of the Travellers on any land, daily updates can be obtained from ECTU via the Essex County Council Contact Centre on 03457 430 430 or alternatively you can email at ECTU@essex.gov.uk.  They will have the most up to date information on the status of any action.

Essex County Council owned land

If the encampment is on Essex County Council land you would need to notify them of the situation so they can carry out their own investigation and determine an appropriate course of action. 

Private Land

If the encampment is on private land, the responsibility to deal with the Gypsies and travellers is of the landowner themselves. The land owner would be advised to seek legal advice. Residents may notify Braintree District Council of any such encampment and we well ensure that the land owner is notified. Any site clean up, etc is also the responsibility of the land owner.