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If you need to log an emergency repair to a council property, please call 0800 011 3241.

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Gypsies and Travellers

The Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (ECTU) follows government guidance, which involves:

  • proving ownership of the land
  • carrying out assessments for health, welfare and education
  • assessing the impact of the encampment on its location

The ECTU can apply to court for an eviction order. Some encampments only stay for a few days and leave before the full procedure is completed. The length of stay depends on each individual case. It takes time to follow the procedures. The process can take approximately 7 to 10 working days if court orders are needed.

Dealing with Unauthorised Gypsy or Traveller Encampments on Council Land

The ECTU has a target process based on working days. This may start immediately or from the first working day after receiving a report.

Handling StageSteps Involved
  • Visit the site to confirm location, numbers and intention
  • Find out who owns the land
  • If the land is not privately-owned then get physical proof of ownership
  • Carry out assessments and welfare checks

Issue a direction to leave, normally with 24 hours to comply


If the direction is not followed then apply to court


Serve a summons, which can take 2 working days, or sometimes 1 day in exceptional circumstances


Serve a court order with notice of enforcement after 24 hours - the encampment must leave upon service of the order


Call in bailiffs if the encampment has still not moved



LocationHandling StageAdditional Comments


Police involvement

Police can visit an unauthorised encampment and in some circumstances may choose to use powers available under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. It is for the senior officer who visits the encampment to decide what action should be taken.

Residents who feel threatened or suffer anti-social behaviour of any sort should call the police.

Report an unauthorised encampment

If an unauthorised encampment on council land is not listed on the table above you can report it here using our online form

Do it Online

Do it Online - Report an Unauthorised Encampment on Council Land

Unauthorised Gypsy or Traveller Encampments on Private Land

An unauthorised encampment on private land is subject to the laws of trespass, which is a civil matter. It is for the landowner to take the appropriate action.

Private landowners are also responsible for the removal of waste from their land.

Unauthorised Developments on land owned by Gypsies, Roma's and Travellers

Gypsies, Roma's and Travellers have the same rights to purchase and own any land. As with any other person in the UK, they are subject to the same restrictions as any member of the community when it comes to developing a site for occupation as a permanent site that requires planning permission. The provisions of the Law, The Human Rights Act and The Equality Act 2010 apply to all residents in the UK.

Further Advice and Information