Listening to residents concerns: Travellers in Hertsmere

We understand how anxious our residents are that Travellers have been moving into our parks across the Borough. The Council have been working tirelessly to move them, however there are complex legalities that must be followed.The powers given to local authorities and the police are discretionary and can only be used when certain conditions exist. Failure to comply with both civil and criminal procedures render the Council and Police liable to successful challenge in the Courts.

Trespass on land itself is not a crime - it is a civil matter. In the case of Hertsmere the Council is the land owner the Council can recover possession of the land by using a County Court Order from Hertfordshire County Council.

The Environmental Health team attended a hearing at St Albans Magistrates Court on Wednesday (12 September), where magistrates issued a Removal Order requiring the travellers to move on. This order has been issued to the Travellers and they have since moved on from Rippon Park. The Council are looking into other solutions such as borough wide orders to deal with the ongoing challenge of traveller incursions, include borough-wide orders.

Councillor Seamus Quilty, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport, said: “We are working as hard as we can to ensure the protection of the Borough and all the parks and public spaces in it.”

“Other boroughs, both within Hertfordshire and across the country, are facing similar situations.  We are continuing to look at all the options available to us with limited resources, including borough-wide measures to prevent unauthorised encampments.”