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Unauthorised Encampments section 62: practical considerations and definitions

Consideration may need to be given to the state of vehicles before any direction to leave is given. Directing unfit vehicles onto the public highway is inappropriate and officers planning enforcement action under Section 61 will need to make practical arrangements for the removal of unfit vehicles to a safe place. This should be agreed with the Local Authority.

Vehicle: includes caravans, living vans, and vehicles, whether or not it is in a fit state for use on roads, and includes any chassis or body, with or without wheels, appearing to have formed part of such a vehicle, and any load carried by or attached to such a vehicle or caravan.

Note: as the definition of vehicles includes caravans and living vans, the seizure of such vehicles may render the owner and others homeless; welfare considerations need to be anticipated and catered for. The involvement of Local Authority Social Services in the planning stage is an important consideration.

Damage: the Act does not define damage but makes reference to the Criminal Damage Act 1971 when defining property. A common sense approach is therefore necessary when defining damage to the land or to property on the land. It has included churned-up ground caused by heavy vehicles; diesel spillages; animal and human excrement; destroyed fencing and spoiled crops. The dumping of litter and rubbish by travellers is often the most frequent nuisance factor associated with illegal trespass. This may fall within the legal category of damage dependent on the severity of the situation; each case will need to be judged on its merits. Other legislation may be considered.

Land: does not include -

  • buildings other than agricultural buildings or scheduled monuments,
  • a highway unless it is a footpath, bridleway or byway open to all traffic, a road used as a public path or a cycle track.

Common Land
: The legislation also applies to common land where persons act in a way in which is either a trespass against the occupier (any commoner or the local authority) or an infringement of the commoners rights.

Residing: A person may be regarded as having a purpose of residing in a place notwithstanding that she/he has a home elsewhere.