Jumping on the caravan? UKIP MEP launches petition over traveller pitches
News / Wed 5th Aug 2015 at 10:30am
UKIP MEP for East of England, Tim Aker, has launched a Downing Street Petition calling for unauthorized traveller sites to be made a criminal offence.
The Member of the European Parliament, who is also a councillor for Aveley in Thurrock, has called for this action after a spate of traveller incursions in Thurrock.
Tim Aker said: “The existing civil rules mean residents have to wait several days before action is taken to clear illegal traveller sites. The clear up afterwards has to be paid for by the taxpayer. Enough is enough. There needs to be a stronger deterrent and making illegal incursions a criminal offence would be just that. With strict liability, there would also be swifter removal so residents can be aware that after reporting the illegal incursion, the authorities are able to act immediately to make arrests and clear the site.
“This month alone we have seen three children’s recreation grounds in Thurrock taken over by unauthorised traveller pitches. With summer now here and children needing a place to go and play outside, I worry that these children’s recreation grounds could become unsafe for children to use until they are cleared and the sites cleaned of rubbish and waste.
“While each local authority has a duty to offer sites, it is wrong that a small minority persists to trespass and form unauthorized sites. Hopefully a change in the law will protect community lands and see that all obey the law.”
YH asked the MEP why he had not been more of a presence in Harlow during the intense period of illegal encampments. Mr Aker said: “This was all outlined and detailed in our manifesto for the 2015 General Election.”.
Tim Aker MEP’s Petition: Make the setting up of a traveller pitch without permission illegal – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/105642/sponsors/cg6hm7tFeQ32luxKYFnh
An excellent piece of work from a very proactive MEP. I YH know why he wasn't in Harlow - because he was fighting a close three way marginal parliamentary seat in Thurrock!