Monday, 10 March 2014

My rights, your rights. All wrong

A few miles away from me there is a rest area adjoining a roundabout off the main A1 road. It is nicely secluded, screened by trees and with a footpath down to the river. There are toilets which were always clean and fresh. I say 'were' but the whole facility is now shut with massive concrete blocks shutting off the only access.
Why? Because a large group of 'travellers' colonised the place for a fortnight or so and, when finally moved on, left piles of rubbish and filth behind.
The usual excuse for this sort of vandalism is that there are not enough officially designated sites for travellers and they have to stop somewhere - it is part of their life-style. We have a Naked Rambler who exercises what he sees as his right to ramble in the buff. There are many things I would like to do as a 'right' if I had the brass neck to set them up.
The official stop-overs for the fraternity soon become unavailable as families occupy them on a semi-permanent basis. The saga of Dale Farm shows the complexity of the issue. The costs to tax-payers cannot be justified in these hard economic times.
As I see it, there is a simple solution. These should be in place for a location. A set time limit needs to be imposed for presence on a site. Areas designated as rest areas should also have a definite period limiting stays - say, 60 hours. After these periods, eviction is guaranteed without recourse to legal action; a similar bar is needed to avoid travellers seeking legal permission to stay or to resist being moved on.
At the designated time, the travellers would be reminded of the limitations. Those who refused to vacate should be towed away from the prohibited area. Once on a public road the normal sanctions should be used. If a vehicle fails to meet MOT standards there are directives as to limitations and use. Checks should be made as to driving licences and insurance. There is provision for vehicles to be seized and even destroyed. All of these should be considered.
These actions put responsibility where it belongs; I might decide on a change of life style. If I decide it is my right and life style to swim amongst sharks then the results are purely my choice