Now Harlow Council order Travellers to clean up their filth

News / Tue 23rd Dec 2014 at 10:08am

HARLOW Council has served a public health notice on 24 travellers for the depositing of human waste on public land near the former Passmores School Site.

An Abatement Notice (section 81 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990) was served on Friday (19 December 2014) setting out that if the travellers fail to comply with the notice the Council will take formal action which can result in a criminal conviction. The Council also has the power to carry out work in default and recover costs from the travellers of doing so. The notice has been served and put up at the former school site.

The Council has received complaints about travellers from the former Passmores School site unauthorised encampment defecating in the open air and complaints about the accumulation of human waste and toilet roll on public land along with rubbish. The Council has also received complaints from residents living nearby of noise from disc cutters, loud music and generators in the day and during the night. All information and evidence has been passed to Essex Police.

As well as issuing the public health notice, last week Harlow Council asked the Police to consider issuing a section 61 notice due to the complaints about human waste, rubbish and noise nuisance. Harlow Council received the following response from the Police:

“I have requested that officer/s re-attend the school to warn the travellers regarding the below information (complaints about human waste, rubbish and noise). I have considered Section 61 once more and will not be invoking the power. We are continuing to monitor the site and will work with; ECC who own the land, HDC and other agencies to ensure a legal and lawful course of conduct is pursued being cognisant of; human rights, available legal legislation and considerations of members of the community however we must recognise that the word ‘significant’ is utilised within legislation/guidelines which I must consider in any deliberation to utilise punitive powers.”

There are still 32 caravans on the former Passmores School site and on Friday afternoon Essex County Council obtained an order for Possession of the Land from the County Court. There are reports of caravans moving from the West Road unauthorised encampment to land at the bottom of Priory Avenue which is owned by Essex County Council. A further update will be issued.

Harlow Council has also issued a clean-up bill for rubbish and human waste totalling £79 to travellers who were part of the unauthorised encampment of 18 caravans on Tennis Courts at Abercrombie Way on 10 December 2014. If the bill is not paid the Council will pursue the money through the courts.

Councillor Jon Clempner, Leader of Harlow Council, said: “Harlow Council continues to call on Essex Police to consider using its powers against unauthorised encampments. We will continue to set out what our concerns are and what the concerns are of the community. Whether the Police uses its powers is their choice, but we will continue to let residents know what their decision is.

“As the courts are closed until the New Year if there are any unauthorised traveller encampments on Harlow Council’s land, the Council will be in contact with the Police regarding the use of their Section 61 powers.

“Harlow Council is actively looking at ways it can take other action to recover the Council’s costs. In exploring every legal avenue in recent months we have taken the decision to start the process of recovering clean-up costs and taking action through the courts when we can. Whether this will be successful or not we will have to see but the Council will pursue all reasonable actions through the courts.

“Harlow Council continues to lead on seeking to find a long-term legal solution to tackle the overall issue. The situation has gone on far too long and the existing powers which we use on a daily basis are not resolving the problem. I appreciate the community’s frustration with the whole situation. We will continue to ask the Police to consider using their powers available and urge the Government to change the law to enable the Council to stop the ‘cat and mouse’ movements of the Travellers from one site in Harlow to another.”

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