Unauthorised encampments

How quickly can the council move trespassers?

The council must:

  • show that the trespassers are on land without consent
  • make enquiries regarding the general health, welfare and children’s education
  • ensure the Human Rights Act 1998 has been fully complied with.

To do this, the council follows a civil legal process, alongside government guidance, which involves proving ownership of the land, obtaining details of the encampment, assessing an encampment’s effect on the local area, and then following the most appropriate course of legal action to ensure the most effective and timely response is taken.

Once council officers have visited the site to carry out an assessment, they prepare evidence, which is reviewed to determine the most appropriate power available to the council to remove the encampment. This may include a request to the police to use the powers available to them.

It is not possible to provide an accurate timescale for the removal of an encampment, as each case differs. There may also be further delays if there are welfare concerns for those occupying the land which need attention.