Dale Farm travellers win injunction

Travellers at Dale Farm in Essex have won a last minute injunction delaying their eviction.

The injunction means the travellers cannot be evicted from the illegal site until a High Court hearing on Friday (23 September).

Bailiffs and contractors working on behalf of Basildon Council had planned to evict up to 400 travellers from the site on Monday (19 September).

Local farmers and landowners remain concerned that the travellers could move out and set up camp on nearby farmland.

They have been trying to protect their land by locking farm gates and blocking field entrances with machinery.

Basildon Council leader Tony Ball acknowledged there was a risk that the travellers would set up again illegally.

But the site had been illegally developed and must be cleared, he insisted.

“We have exhausted the judicial process and made every effort to negotiate. We have no option but to resort to direct action to clear the site.”

Some caravans and mobile homes have already left the site.

The NFU has circulated police advice to union members in Essex and neighbouring counties.

Farmers could take a number of practical steps to prevent trespassers entering their land, said the union.

These included blocking field entrances, putting chains and locks on gates, digging ditches and removing cattle grids.

But any measures taken to obstruct entry should be reasonable in the circumstances and should not endanger lives, the NFU warned.

“Landowners and occupiers can be liable for injury to and loss sustained by trespassers as a result of known hazards on the land.”

• Add your views to our forum on this topic

See more