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Illegal Travellers

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent meetings he has had with (a) the police and (b) ministerial colleagues on the cost to local authorities of dealing with illegal travellers; what plans he has to assist local authorities; and if he will make a statement. [125974]

Ministers in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister have not recently met with the police or with other ministerial colleagues to specifically discuss costs to local authorities in removing illegal Gypsy and Traveller camps.However, in drafting the new joint guide on managing unauthorised camping, officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in conjunction with the Home Office, has met and consulted with various stakeholders including the Association of Chief Police Officers, and the Local Government Association. Costs to local authorities in removing illegal encampments were discussed among other issues.The new joint guide will be published and made available for use by local authorities and police services by the end of the summer.

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much money each English local authority has spent in each of the last five years for which figures are available on (a) the results of flytipping and (b) the cost of the (i) administration involved in dealing with travellers and (ii) clearing up after they have moved on; and if he will make a statement. [125983]

I have been asked to reply.These data are not collected centrally so the information is not available in the format requested.The Environment Agency has estimated that the total cost of clearing fly tipping by all stakeholders is 100 million. ENCAMS (Environmental Campaigns) also recently completed a survey, where costs were assessed on a different basis. The results of this survey suggested an average spend on clearing fly tipping for each local authority in 2002 of 54,258. No estimates are available, however, to indicate the costs associated with clearing incidents caused by particular individuals or groups of individuals.A clause in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill currently before Parliament will, if successful, require local authorities and the Agency to submit annual data returns to Defra on the amounts and type of illegally dumped waste they deal with. These measures are expected to come into effect in the summer of 2004 and will mean, for the first time, that national data on fly tipping levels will be available.