Joint action cuts Travellers bill

By on 08/02/2010 in News

Efforts to cut unauthorised Traveller encampments in Birmingham parks have slashed the annual clean-up bill from a high of over £100,000 in the mid 1990s to just £1,500 so far in 2009/10.

Unauthorised Travellers can be evicted from parks and open spaces but measures have also been put in place to deter access with the installation of fences, gates and barriers.

Thanks to these measures, the number of encampments in parks has dropped dramatically, with just five in the current financial year.

Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture Cllr Martin Mullaney said: “This was a major concern in the 1990s but these figures show the measures put in place are effectively dealing with the problem.

“There are still incidents of unauthorised encampments in our parks and open spaces - there have been five in 2009-10. But we've managed to dramatically cut the annual cost to the council tax payers of Birmingham.”

Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police agreed a joint protocol to manage unauthorised encampments in 2000.

The protocol, which was reviewed in August 2008 to reflect changes in legislation and national policy, sets out procedures to deal with encampments on land owned by the city council and privately owned land across the city.

The Council’s Unauthorised Encampments Team is based within the Environmental Protection Unit of Regulatory Services and is responsible for dealing with unauthorised encampments in the City of Birmingham.

Authorised sites for Travellers within the City are inspected annually to ensure that they meet necessary requirements.

Where council owned land is illegally occupied the Unauthorised Encampments Team will carry out eviction as detailed in the guidance Managing Unauthorised Encampments a joint policy of Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Click on the link below for the scrutiny report in full
http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/democracy/Pages/AgendaDetail.aspx?AgendaID%3d52592

Unauthorised Encampments Team
http://tinyurl.com/yjm6hnh

For further information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

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