Acting on advice from the Metropolitan Police, Ealing Council has today applied for a High Court injunction that prohibits illegal encampments across the borough.
If successful, local Police will have the power to quickly remove those who ignore the injunction.
The injunction would forbid caravans, mobile homes, vans and lorries from coming onto public land for the purpose of occupying it or depositing waste.
Councillor Joanna Camadoo, cabinet member for community safety and inclusion said:
“Unauthorised encampments have been increasing in Ealing – over 40 have arrived since November 2018 – and some encampments have caused unacceptable levels of disruption for local people. On the advice of the Metropolitan Police, Ealing Council has applied for an injunction to forbid the entry of caravans, mobile homes, vans and lorries onto public space with the intention to occupy it.
“We have always responded to unauthorised encampments in partnership with the police. Whilst this approach had been swift and effective in the past, the situation has become more challenging with the rapid increase in people arriving to sites in the borough in the last six months, coinciding with the police needing to focus resources on tackling knife crime and serious violence across the west area BCU.”
Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, said:
“Most travellers are peaceful and law abiding. However, as in all communities, there are those who fail to respect their surroundings, or local residents, or who are intent on criminal behaviour. Indeed, we have had several instances of commercial fly-tipping, with tonnes of waste being dumped illegally.
“The council has allocated £200K to construct bunds, railings and ditches around the perimeter of Ealing Common, which should prevent unauthorised vehicles accessing the Common. As this is common land, we’re waiting for the Secretary of State for Local Government to approve our application to construct these defences. After the success of similar works on Norwood Green, I am confident that the proposed works, in addition to the injunction the council has applied for, will dramatically reduce unauthorised encampments.
“We will continue to work closely with the police to ensure that unauthorised encampments do not cause disruption for local people.”
Councillor Praveen Anand, Labour member for Ealing Common, said:
“I am pleased that we are taking action as a council on the issue of illegal encampments. As a local councillor for Ealing Common, I have been supporting many local people who are concerned that they have been unable to use their local parks due to unauthorised encampments.
“I have been working closely with Cllr Bell, Leader of the Council, and Cllr Camadoo, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Inclusion, to resolve the issues that have been caused by unauthorised encampments.
“This injunction is a positive step forward to ensure that we maintain Ealing’s green spaces for the whole community to enjoy.”