Council wins blanket ban on unauthorised camps

A north London council has secured a High Court injunction against "persons unknown" to prevent unauthorised traveller encampments on 128 green spaces across the borough.

The council stated that numerous incursions had repeatedly occurred, often during the night, on green spaces in its possession. The encampments comprised between eight and 15 vehicles and mobile homes as well as animals, including horses. The council said these incidents had caused significant disruption to local residents’ enjoyment of public spaces, parks and sports facilities, and raised issues over criminal acts and anti-social behaviour.

The local authority was particularly concerned about potential disruption to planned public events. It reported that damage had been caused while the encampments were in place and when they moved on, that human, domestic and industrial waste had been left behind and that there had been extreme examples of fly-tipping for profit, causing a health hazard and incurring significant costs.

Judge Coe QC was satisfied that an interim injunction had been properly served and the return date had given anyone who wanted to attend the hearing sufficient notice. The judge was satisfied that applications for possession of the land had not been effective in resolving the ongoing problem, and that an injunction was the appropriate course for the future protection of green spaces.

It was therefore appropriate to make a prohibitory order against persons unknown, the court held. It accepted that the council was seeking to restrain criminal activity that disrupted use of the land, caused loss of amenity, produced hazardous waste and incurred costs. The balance of convenience was overwhelmingly and firmly in favour of granting the injunction for a period of three years, the judge held.

Enfield London Borough Council v Persons Unknown

Date: 4 October 2017

Ref: HQ17X02619

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