In two recent cases, injunctions have been used by local authorities to restrain travellers from camping on council owned land.
In Waltham Forest London Borough Council v Persons Unknown (12/1/2018), the Court decided it was just and proportionate to grant a three-year final borough-wide injunction preventing travellers from encamping on any green spaces. The travellers’ activities, which were in breach of planning control, were causing a nuisance and health risks and the local authority had already incurred considerable expense in cleaning up the sites. The court was satisfied that unless the injunction was continued, the unauthorised use of green spaces would resume. The green spaces were for the local residents to enjoy, and it was not a case where the travellers would be made homeless as a direct result of the order.
In Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council v Heron & Others (19/2/2018), the applicant local authority applied for the continuation of an interim injunction against 81 named respondents and persons unknown creating a borough-wide ban on unauthorised Traveller encampments. The court held that there was plainly a serious issue to be tried and a good arguable case. The court was satisfied that damages would not be an adequate alternative remedy. The local authority was seeking to uphold planning law and it was preferable to prevent breaches of planning law. In weighing the balance of convenience the court took account of the restriction an injunction placed on the life pursued by travellers, but there was no doubt that that was outweighed by the rights of others and planning control. Alternative enforcement action had not worked and the balance of convenience lay in continuing the injunction pending trial.