MP reveals the true cost of tackling travellers
MP James Heappey has revealed the true cost of tackling travellers
during a House of Commons debate this week.
MP spoke out ahead of a meeting with the Secretary of State for
Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, about tackling illegal
a number of incidents across the Burnham-On-Sea area in recent years,
he spoke about the impact that travellers are having on the local
community during a lively debate.
said: "I want to thank Sedgemoor and Mendip District Councils
and Somerset County Council for the enthusiasm with which they provided
me with information for my contribution."
tells us something about how big an issue this is for them. It is
also an issue of real importance for my constituents, who have been
angered again and again by illegal encampments."
the past two years, there have been illegal encampments in Berrow,
Street and routinely in the car parks and sports club of Burnham-On-Sea.
There have also been illegal encampments in Shepton Mallet and Brean."
Heappey was keen to tell Ministers exactly how much this is costing
councils in Somerset.
added: "In June, just before the Glastonbury Festival, there
was an illegal encampment near the festival site in Shepton Mallet.
Mendip District Council moved as quickly as it could to initiate
legal proceedings, but it still took 10 days."
cost to Mendip District Council was £27,745, and that does
not include the policing costs of trying to escort them out of the
town at the end of that illegal encampment."
Somerset County Council has told me that in the last three years
it has spent nearly £25,000 on moving travellers on from the
public highway and a further £6,000 on the clean-up costs
every turn, there is an asymmetric costa cost to councils,
Avon and Somerset Police, local businesses and the community, but
no cost whatsoever to the travellers who have made the illegal encampment."
live in a beautiful part of the world, with a good local economy,
but surely our liability for travellers cannot be unlimited or set
simply by traveller demand? We must be willing to say what is a
fair provision for councils to offer. We must reduce costs to local
authorities or find a way to pass them on to the travellers who
are illegally encamped."
Heappey encouraged Ministers to find a way of making the process
for removing illegal encampments quicker and cheaper for local authorities,
saying that there can no longer be "one rule for the travellers
and another rule for everyone else."