The Government’s Gypsy and Traveller Workforce recently visited West Lancashire to see for themselves the problems local people have to face. Rosie Cooper MP has been working with the Government, West Lancashire District Council and the local Police over illegal traveller camps in West Lancashire following the huge number of complaints from local residents.
The visit from the taskforce follows a meeting Rosie arranged with Equalities Minister Meg Munn MP at the Department for Communities and Local Government in May.
It was an opportunity for the taskforce to see the particular problems West Lancashire faces with travellers camps on open land, grass verges or on industrial estates. Currently there are no designated traveller sites in West Lancashire and travellers set up camps illegally on land they can access.
“I regularly receive complaints about traveller camps from residents and local business that are affected by these illegal sites.”
“We need to find a solution to the problem because it is local people and business that have to bear the brunt of the travellers activities because either the camps are on their doorstep causing nuisance or council tax that has to be used to pay to clear up the mess and flytipping once the travellers move on.”
“Currently a study is being conducted at the regional and county levels to find a co-ordinated approach on the provision of traveller sites in Lancashire and the North West. The study is due to be completed in December. The Government has set up this taskforce to find out how local authorities and police can better deal with incidents when travellers set up camp illegally. The police do have powers to take immediate action where there is a legal site for travellers to move to, where there isn’t one, it means that the Council or the land owner has to take court action which takes time!.”