“Under siege” William Hague pledges to investigate illegal encampments in Harlow

Politics / Thu 16th Oct 2014 at 02:27pm

William HagueHARLOW MP, Robert Halfon has taken a significant step forward in his campaign to challenge illegal encampments in Harlow.

Mr Halfon rose on the floor of the House of Commons.

He said: “May we have an urgent debate and a statement about the application of existing laws on illegal Traveller encampments? Harlow has been under siege, with illegal encampments all over the town during the past year resulting in clean-up costs to Harlow taxpayers of £41,000. More than 1,700 residents have signed my petition calling for action. Will my right hon. Friend urge the Home Secretary to contact the chief constable of Essex and ask for a zero-tolerance approach to help to put an end to this intolerable situation?

Mr Hague replied:

“This is a serious issue, and not only in my hon. Friend’s constituency. Operational decisions on the use of police powers are, of course, a matter for chief constables, as must be the case, but I will bring the issues he raises to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. My hon. Friend and others might also want to send representations to the Department for Communities and Local Government because it is consulting on a series of changes to planning policy for Traveller sites, including with regard to unauthorised development.

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