Thurrock Council has successfully been granted an interim injunction to prevent unauthorised encampments in the borough.
The interim injunction will prevent named defendants from setting up an encampment anywhere within Thurrock without lawful permission. It will also prevent ‘persons unknown’ from setting up an encampment on a number of named sites within the borough.
Following the hearing at The Royal Courts of Justice on Tuesday 3 September, the council was granted the injunction, which is enforceable on areas of both public and private land in the borough.
The injunction means anyone who sets up an illegal encampment faces the prospect of immediate arrest and will give the council the tools it needs to move on encampments within just a few hours rather than the days it can currently take.
Thurrock Council presented a very substantial case to the High Court, putting around 2,500 pages of evidence before the court.
Cllr Barry Johnson, Cabinet member for housing, said: "Whilst we have seen a reduction of 77% in unauthorised encampments this year, due to target hardening measures and increased enforcement activity, this injunction will give us far greater powers to deal with unauthorised encampments and protect parks and other green spaces in the borough.
"This is the second in a three stage process. We now have an interim injunction which will be in place for several months whilst we prepare our case for a final injunction.
"The current situation with unauthorised encampments in Thurrock is simply not acceptable and this injunction will act as a far greater deterrent and give us the powers we need to protect our land more effectively.
"I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard on this extremely complex process. It's success has been due to the significant gathering of evidence from everyone involved."