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Redbridge Council win greater powers to ban Travellers from the borough as High Court grants interim injunction

PUBLISHED: 09:30 06 June 2018 | UPDATED: 09:52 06 June 2018

The site in Barkingside is just one of many traveller hotspots in the borough. Picture: Ellena Cruse

The site in Barkingside is just one of many traveller hotspots in the borough. Picture: Ellena Cruse

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The High Court has granted Redbridge Council an interim injunction to apply against travellers across the borough.

Injunction notice at Barkingside Cemetary. Picture: Ellena CruseInjunction notice at Barkingside Cemetary. Picture: Ellena Cruse

The interim injunction will give the council greater powers to evict those in illegal encampments.

The removal and clean up of such encampments cost the Redbridge tax payer £350,000 over the last two years.

High Court judge, Lady Justice Amanda Yip approved the interim injunction which will protect 235 sites across Redbridge.

The order will protect parks, open spaces, school grounds and industrial estates in the borough ahead of fuller hearing at a later date.

100 people have been named on the list. Picture: Ellena Cruse100 people have been named on the list. Picture: Ellena Cruse

The ruling also bans 100 named individuals, and persons unknown, from establishing unlawful sites in Redbridge.

Anyone breaching the interim injunction by refusing to move could be imprisoned, face a fine or have their belongings and/or property seized for contempt of court.

Over the last two years it has cost the council £350k to clear up and remove the 52 instances of illegal encampments. Most of these encampments and costs occurred in the summer of 2017.

Some individual clean-up operations have cost the council up to £50K because of the flytipping of asbestos.

Without the injunction, current central government laws mean the council is unable to evict from illegal encampments without following lengthy protocols and procedures.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “I made a commitment last year to seek an injunction and I’m very pleased we have secured this borough-wide ban on illegal encampments to put a stop to this activity.

“For years we have taken precautions to protect our parks and open spaces such as closing vehicle access but there are always those willing to force entry and set up unlawful camps.

“These are a serious problem which understandably leads to complaints and concerns about anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and other damage from local people.

“As well as the huge disruption unlawful camps cause, the council – and ultimately the taxpayer – has to foot a significant bill for the clear-up operation.

“Over the last two years alone the costs have reached £350k.

“This is money that could have been spent on key services at a time when we are facing significant challenges from reductions in government funding.”

A council spokesman added that, as part of the council’s current and future protocols, departments including housing, adults and children’s services must all attend the sites of unauthorised encampments to assess the needs of those encamped on the land.

This is a statutory responsibility for councillors involved.

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