What action is the Welsh Government taking to tackle unauthorised encampments in Wales?
In 2013, we published the Managing Unauthorised Camping guidance. The guidance provides information on roles, responsibilities and rights and ensures a fair and consistent approach (aligned to legislation) to dealing with unauthorised encampments in Wales.
The Welsh Government’s guidance to local authorities and police services on managing unauthorised encampments has focused on engagement with communities, investment for adequate provision of authorised sites and enabling local authorities to meet the accommodation needs (residential and transit) of Gypsies and Travellers. This area of work is prioritised again in the forthcoming Race Equality Action Plan, which contains a standalone goal on better addressing accommodation needs of these communities.
Via the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, the UK Government is considering taking a divergent path on this issue. I do not support the new offences proposed in that Bill and am confident the approach being taken in Wales is the right one and in the interests of the whole community.