New powers to stop travellers

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Councils will be given stronger powers to stop illegal travellers’ sites being set up, Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles has announced.

Local authorities are currently constrained in taking immediate action against caravans used as a main residence which they suspect are in breach of planning rules, but Mr Pickles has said the regulations will be scrapped.

The move is aimed at preventing another Dale Farm, where a long-running legal battle was fought before bailiffs moved in to evict travellers from the site in Essex.

Councils will be given greater freedom to issue “temporary stop notices”, backed up by potentially unlimited fines.