PLANS to make it easier for town halls to evict travellers from temporary encampments have been broadly welcomed in East Lancashire.

Several fly-by-night camps have been established in Burnley, Hyndburn and Rossendale over the past 12 months including land at Towneley Park, Futures Park in Bacup and Arden Hall, Accrington.

And council bosses have been left counting the cost of cleaning up when the caravans and motor homes are moved on.

But now Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is proposing that ‘stop notices’ be introduced which would allow local authorities to take swift action.

Currently landowners have to apply to the county court for an eviction notice and the problem has become so prevalent in Burnley that town hall legal officials have secured a boroughwide prohibition for council-owned land.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle was outraged at the bill the council was left with after the last camp at Tay Street, in the south west of the town, was evicted and has backed the new measures.

“I welcome anything which would help us to deal with this issue,” said Mr Birtwistle.

“The council is now in a better position but if it is a private landowner then they still have to go to court.

“Then the council is left to pay when the eviction happens and there are more useful things we could be spending our council tax on.”

The government moves comes in the wake of the Dale Farm fiasco in Essex when it took months to disband a longstanding camp.

Mr Pickles said: “We are giving councils new powers to issue ‘temporary stop notices’ to stop unauthorised traveller and caravan developments in their tracks and prevent long-drawn out cases like Dale Farm ever happening.

“Councils will be able to stop unauthorised sites as they happen, backed up with unlimited fines.”