High Court backs council's bid to protect public land from illegal encampments
Thursday 4 April: Hillingdon Council has successfully applied for a High Court injunction that prohibits illegal encampments on more than 350 sites across the borough and makes it easier to remove people who ignore it.
Although the injunction, granted by the court on Friday 29 March, refers to 'persons unknown', people from the travelling community are most likely to be affected by it.
The injunction forbids caravans, mobile homes, vans and lorries from coming onto 358 specific sites for the purpose of occupying it or depositing waste. It also prohibits any person - whether travelling onto the land in a vehicle or not - from fly-tipping there.
The list of restricted sites includes 290 parks and green spaces, along with leisure facilities, public car parks and car parks attached to public buildings such as libraries and theatres.
There have been 41 land incursions in the borough since January 2018, leading to clean-up costs of approximately £200,000.
The council anticipates that the injunction will act as a significant deterrent, while ensuring the quick removal of those who ignore it.
Hillingdon Council is believed to be the first local authority in west London to have secured such an injunction. It will mean that neither the council nor the police will have to rely on their respective powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which is not always quick and effective at removing incursions and encampments.
The injunction will initially remain in force until 18 June, on which date the council will return to the High Court. Providing the injunction is working effectively in practice, the council will ask the court to extend it for a three-year period.
Councillor Ray Puddifoot, Leader of Hillingdon Council, said: ''I am very pleased that we have obtained this injunction, which protects a significant number of valuable sites in the borough. A great deal of our time and money is spent each year in dealing with incursions and encampments and these resources can now instead be used for the direct benefit of our residents."