We have some wonderful countryside in Faversham and Mid Kent, but the woods and fields around us are a living and working environment.
I'm pleased the Government has announced new legislation to strengthen police powers in tackling unauthorised encampments.
Local councils rightly have a duty to allocate land for the Gypsy and Traveller community. The vast majority of caravans are located on authorised Gypsy and Traveller sites, but I know there are a small number of communities where unauthorised sites are a concern.
These new powers will make it quicker and easier to take action against unauthorised encampments – delivering on another of our manifesto commitments.
I know there are broader concerns about the growth of Gypsy and Traveller sites around Headcorn and Ulcombe. This is putting a strain on usually good relations between permanent residents and the Traveller community.
I’ve hosted a number of meetings recently with local councillors, residents, planners, and officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to look at ways of making our planning system simpler and fairer.
I’m pleased the Government is committed to strengthening enforcement powers as part of much needed reforms to the planning system to give people confidence that planning rules will be upheld.
I’ll continue to do everything I can to protect our countryside and make the planning system fairer.