Councils are facing ‘astronomical bills’ clearing up after illegal traveller camps, a meeting heard this week.
In a bid to block access to some of the camps which have sprung up across Spen Valley over the last months, the area committee agreed to stump up £14,920 on bollards, boulders, posts and gates.
Coun Steve Hall (Lab, Heckmondwike) told Tuesday’s meeting: “I have had enough. We have been bombarded by travellers over the past few months. They cropped the lock off a gate at Dale Lane and the school playing fields in Liversedge.
“There is the cost of evicting them and the huge cost of clearing up.
“There is a stand pipe at the cemetery at Dale Lane and they are using the water. The average payment is £30 but when they were there it was up to £300, and you are paying for it.”
Councillors said one group at Dale Lane left 50 tonnes of rubbish, which cost the council £4,500 to clear up at £90 a tonne.
Coun David Hall (Con, Liversedge and Gomersal) said: “The amount of public money that’s being spent evicting and clearing up is astronomical. This will hopefully insure against that and the upset to residents. People don’t like to let their children out. They are ringing me and the police all the time.”
Members of the public asked whether the money for the bollards should come directly from the council rather than through the area committee – but councillors said there were so many sites targeted by travellers across Kirklees that the council could not afford to secure each one, and the process would take longer.
Coun Hall added: “We would like other area committees to do what we are doing. Enough is enough.”
The work will be carried out in autumn.
• A possession order has been granted for land at Miry Lane, Hightown which has been used by travellers. An eviction is expected to take place on Tuesday morning.