Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby will tomorrow (Wednesday 9 November) try to bring in a change to the law governing travellers and unauthorised camps.
Mr Kirby will be given time after Prime Minister’s Questions to set out the case for his bill to the House of Commons.
The Conservative MP has little prospect of seeing his proposed bill become law.
Nevertheless he said in an article for the Politics Home website: “Unauthorised encampments have cost local taxpayers many tens of thousands of pounds in waste management, legal fees and eviction charges – never mind the inconvenience.
“The subject of unauthorised traveller encampments in England has been high on the political agenda this year.
“With such an emotive subject it is always important to ensure all discussions are conducted in a rational and reasoned manner.
“However, the scenes at Dale Farm in Essex and in Brighton show that the present law needs to be clarified and strengthened.
“It is clear something needs to be done.
“I believe the law needs to be clarified to enable travellers to be moved on from unauthorised encampments more quickly.
“I will be suggesting giving the police and local councils the greater powers I believe they need.
“I am hoping my bill will be the catalyst needed to provide the extra powers the authorities require.
“Specifically I am pressing for
- Clarity on the Public Order Act 1994 so that the police have to take action when an unauthorised encampment appears
- A review of the welfare check process to ensure that when travellers move within a local authority area the authorities do not have to undertake the same checks on the same people so delaying the possibility of moving the travellers on
- The impounding of travellers’ vans if the owners do not move on as directed
- A requirement for local authorities to maintain an ‘out of hours’ service so that unauthorised encampments can be addressed on weekends and in the evenings.
“Locally I have consistently called on the Green administration to end the uncertainty and fear their current policy has caused for local residents by immediately ruling out inappropriate sites such as Black Rock, East Brighton Park and Happy Valley.
“Clearly there are other inappropriate sites across the constituency as well.
“Many constituents who contact me about this issue feel that when this issue is discussed not enough concern is given to the views of the settled community and this is a concern I share.
“I will continue to do my best to resolve this important issue.”
Mr Kirby is presenting his bill under the ten-minute rule which gives him ten minutes to make his case and an opponent ten minutes to reply.
He said: “Given the scenes we have witnessed this year and the frequent unauthorised traveller incursions in Brighton, my bill is timely and measured.
“It tightens up the responsibilities of the police and local authorities while giving them additional powers to move on unauthorised traveller encampments more quickly.
“My constituents tell me over and over again that this is what they wish to see.”