Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lilley: “More action, less talk to tackle illegal traveller camps.?
    New powers on unauthorised traveller encampments and illegal developments

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden this week backed new Conservative plans to tackle the growing problem of unauthorised traveller encampments and illegal developments ? like the disputed campsite at Tullochside in Redbourn. The issue has risen in importance since the Government, through the Human Rights Act, unwisely gave unelected judges the power to override existing laws passed by our elected Parliament. As a result it is harder for local authorities to evict unauthorised encampments or enforce planning laws to prevent travellers developing land without planning permission. Consequently, unscrupulous speculators can blackmail local residents to buy land to avoid the threat of traveller encampments. He believes that travellers should be subject to the laws of the land like everybody else.

    Peter Lilley explained: “Most travellers are law-abiding people who live in harmony with their communities. But there are some who are not, who abuse the system and disrupt their neighbours? lives. The Labour Government?s Human Rights Act has made it increasingly difficult for local councils to enforce planning laws, stop unauthorised developments and evict illegal occupiers.? For example in Redbourn at Tullochside where the local council refused planning permission for a travellers? camp site. This was upheld on appeal, but the owner of the site then appealed to the courts on human rights grounds. The Deputy Prime Minister was going to support the council against this appeal. But at the last minute withdrew because he had initially misinterpreted the implications of the Human Rights Act.

    Peter Lilley said: “This reveals the absurdity of the Act when even the government is uncertain of its implications. We need new legislation to prevent the Act being used to override sensible planning laws.?

    Conservatives? five point action plan will:
    ? Prevent human rights legislation from frustrating planning law.
    ? Give Councils new enforcement powers.
    ? Prevent irresponsible land speculators from blackmailing local residents into buying land to stop the threat of encampments.
    ? Give stronger guidance to the police authorities to enforce the law.
    ? Let local people have the final say on where traveller sites go.

    Peter Lilley added: “British people have an inherent sense of fair play. There shouldn?t be one rule for a minority and another for the majority. That is why people feel a sense of outrage when they see there is one set of planning laws for people wanting to build or extend their home, and another for travellers moving into the area.?