Policies for managing unauthorised encampments on land and on the highway which are in operation within Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Police.

Policy for managing unauthorised encampments on council land

This protocol sets out the procedures to be adopted by both Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Police. 

This protocol is not a policy on Gypsies or Travellers,  it is a protocol on the agreed responses to reports of people residing as trespassers on land. It is, however, recognised that unauthorised encampments may contain Gypsies or Travellers.

It outlines a procedure for formal review of the protocol to ensure the policy remains current, and is able to reflect legislative and national policy changes. 

Policy for managing encampments on the highway

Whilst it is legal to park a taxed and MOT'd vehicle on the highway if we establish a vehicle is being lived in it will fall within our vehicle dwelling encampments policy.

We manage 7 meanwhile sites for vehicle dwellers who are currently kerbside in Bristol. None of these sites are permanent but they can provide a more secure stopping option for a limited period. Apply for a pitch on a meanwhile site.  

We recognise that people live in vehicles for a range of reasons. This policy provides a means through which we can lessen the impact of this. If an encampment is considered high impact, enforcement action may be taken. Information on enforcement action is in the policy.

This policy sets out:

  • how we'll manage vehicle dwelling encampments, including how we'll support people living in vehicles
  • what action we'll take if an encampment has a high impact on an area

pdf Policy for vehicle dwelling encampments on the highway (269 KB)

Report an unauthorised encampment

We have the lead role in the management of unauthorised encampments. If there are other activities on the encampment, such as:

  • serious breaches of the peace
  • disorder
  • criminal activity
  • anti-social behaviour

These activities would require police involvement under their wider powers. This should be reported to the police on the Avon and Somerset police reporting site Go to https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/report/ (opens new window).

How to report an unauthorised encampment and what we'll do, including if you're concerned about:

  • the welfare of a vehicle occupant
  • the way a vehicle dwelling encampment is being managed