Gypsies and travellers in Allerdale
We sometimes see gypsies and travellers setting up camp in Allerdale.
Gypsies and Travellers are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Human Rights Act 1998.
This page aims to set out how the Council and other official agencies will work to protect the rights of all those involved, as well as protect the rights of local residents.
This has been the way of life for travelling people for many generations. Families move around the country for work or social reasons. The Council accepts that this is a legitimate way of life.
No. If Gypsies or Travellers are camped on council-owned land, then we can evict them.
If they are on private land, it is usually the landowner's responsibility. If Gypsies or Travellers are not causing a problem, the site may be tolerated. When deciding what if any action to take against unauthorised encampments, the Council has agreed to abide by the principles contained in the Cumbria Joint Agency Protocol for Responding to Unauthorised Encampments.
A private landowner can:
- talk to them to see if a leaving date can be agreed.
- take proceedings in the County Court under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 to obtain a Court Order for their eviction.
We recommend you get your own legal advice on this.
Unless the landowner has already obtained planning permission for a caravan site or is a farmer and the Gypsies or Travellers are helping with fruit picking etc., then the landowner could be in breach of the Planning Acts and the Acts dealing with the licensing of caravan sites. You may wish to seek further advice from the Council Environmental Health section , who deal with illegal encampments.
If the landowner is in breach of any planning or licence requirements, then the Council may take proceedings against the landowner to require removal of the illegal encampment.
If the Gypsies or Travellers are causing problems they will be moved on as soon as is possible and reasonable. The Council will consider each case using the criteria set out in the Cumbria Joint Agency Protocol for Responding to Unauthorised Encampments. In all cases the site is visited and every effort made to make sure that the Gypsies or Travellers keep the site tidy and do not cause public health problems. This sometimes means that refuse collection or other facilities may be provided.
No, the Council must:
- show that the Gypsies or Travellers are on the land without consent;
- make enquiries about general health, welfare and children's education;
- ensure that the Human Rights Acts 1998 has been fully complied with;
- follow a set procedure to prove ownership of land and details of the illegal encampment that will enable them to
- successfully obtain an order from the Courts to order the Gypsies or Travellers to leave the site
If we do decide to take proceedings to remove the encampment, we always try to act as quickly as possible.
This will depend upon the circumstances of each individual case. The Council will need to take account other wider issues that may not be apparent as part of an assessment and based on all information received they will make a decision about how they are going to remove them. We will only make a decision on whether to take court action based on a full assessment of the encampment.
Yes. If there is an unavoidable reason for the Gypsies/Travellers to stay on the site, or if the Court believes that the Council have failed to make adequate enquiries about the general health and welfare of the Gypsies or Travellers. The Council must try to find out this information before going to Court.
The Police will visit all sites reported to them (Allerdale Police - Telephone 101 for non-emergency queries).
The duty of the Police is to preserve the peace and prevent crime. Trespass on land by itself is not a criminal offence. Prevention of Trespass and the removal of trespassers are the responsibilities of the landowner and not the Police. The Police will investigate all criminal and Public Order offences.
Sometimes the police may use powers under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. These powers will only be used in situations of serious criminality or public disorder which cannot be addressed by normal criminal legislation and where trespass on the land is a relevant factor.
The Police are bound by the Human Rights Act and may be unable to use section 61 in certain circumstances.
The Council has a duty to assess the housing needs of Gypsies and Travellers from time to time. We will use these assessments to plan for the provision of additional sites. The Council carried out a joint assessment of needs with the other Cumbria districts during 2013. And this is being reviewed again in 2020. This did not identify a substantial additional need for sites.
We have a duty to uphold the welfare of all our communities - be that the local population, or members of the gypsy and traveller community. Therefore we provide bins to ensure the encampment is kept clean for everyone. For the same reason we sometimes provide toilets. Water is also sometimes provided where the gypsy and travellers do not have access to water, to ensure the safety and welfare of everyone including the local community.
How to report any issues
If you wish to report any environmental issues in relation to a traveller encampment, they can be made online via our myAllerdale service .
Any anti-social issues should be reported to the police on calling 101 or by email .