Traveller clean-ups cost town £15,000

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ILLEGAL traveller camps on land in Burnley have cost the council around £15,000 to clean up this year.

Each site plagued by fly-tipping, domestic and commercial waste and even human excrement cost Burnley Council an average of £1,300 to clear up.

A report to Burnley Council showed a total of 12 unauthorised traveller sites across the borough during 2012 and a further three on private land used for 138 days.

Figures show the number of camps has risen since 2011 when travellers occupied eight sites in Burnley for a total of 103 days.

Mounting clean-up costs, waste removal services and court costs to move travellers off sites have led the council to take strong action.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “The report said that we need

to block sites off because of the costs of tidying up after the travellers have left.

“They completely disrupt the lives of residents who live close by.

“It’s just not fair that a small group of people can disrupt lives and cost the council a lot of money to clean up.”

Security is set to be increased at council-owned sites across the borough to stop illegal camps being set up.

Almost £30,000 could be spent installing height barriers, gates and boulders at 15 problem sites in Burnley and Padiham.

Plans are to boost security at sites including Woodgrove car park, the Prairie Playing Fields, Hargher Clough Recreation Ground and Harold Avenue play area which have been repeatedly occupied by travellers.

But the increase in illegal sites in Burnley has now also seen the council team up with police and other East Lancashire authorities.

A joint protocol for dealing with encampments has been drawn up to provide a robust approach to tackling the problem. This is due to come in effect in the next few weeks.