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Unauthorised encampments

Unauthorised encampments - such as the location of caravans or vehicles on land without the landowner or occupier's consent - constitute trespassing.

When a member of the public becomes aware of an encampment they should report their concerns to the Operating Company, Transport Scotland or the local authority. Members of the public should not take action themselves.

Scottish Ministers believe that certain basic principles should be followed when dealing with unauthorised encampments:

  • Policies should endeavour to manage unauthorised encampments to minimise disruption for all concerned
  • Any anti-social behaviour is tackled firmly, regardless of who the perpetrators are
  • The same standards of behaviour should be expected from all members of the community, whether Gypsies/Travellers or the settled population

Transport Scotland will take the following actions in relation to unauthorised camping by travellers on trunk roads:

  • Verify the Scottish Ministers own the land
  • Confirm the travellers are occupying the site without the Scottish Ministers permission
  • Contact the Local Authority Liaison Officer who deals with travellers
  • Visit the site with the Liaison Officer and establish the welfare facilities, waste disposal and how long the travellers intend to stay
  • Establish legitimate reasons for asking the travellers to vacate the site – The Human Rights Act 1998 means that all eviction and enforcement decisions must be ‘proportionate’ and ‘necessary’.

To find out more the document ‘Guidelines for Managing Unauthorised Camping by Gypsies/Travellers in Scotland’, published by the Scottish Executive (now Scottish Government) provides further information. 

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