Birmingham City Council and police can remove travellers from illegal sites at two hours’ notice under a new policy being adopted.
Extra powers to evict travellers from public-owned land have been adopted under a new protocol for dealing with illegal encampments.
And its formal adoption by the city council came in the week that traveller camps hit the national headlines over the forced eviction of families from the Dale Farm site in Basildon, Essex.
Under an earlier protocol, drawn up five years ago, the authority would give a standard seven-day eviction notice to move caravans from parks and open spaces.
But now, if senior council officers believe there is an urgent need, the police can be called to give occupiers two hours to vacate. In most other cases the travellers will be given two days to move on from public parks and open spaces.
The seven-day limit will continue to apply to other sites such as industrial waste ground where there is little urgency.
In a report to the council’s Public Protection Committee, environmental protection officer Mark Wolstencroft said: “The intention is to reduce the time that land is subject to illegal occupancy.
“It should be noted that we do not operate any enforcement service at the weekend or bank holidays.”
Mr Wolstencroft explained this meant that, in some cases, eviction cases may still take four to six days to process.
Private landowners will need to make their own eviction arrangement except in cases where public nuisance or crime is an issue and police may intervene.
The total of recorded illegal caravan pitches in the city fell from a high point of 731 in 2002-03 to less than 100 in 2009-10. But last summer and this saw the number rise to more than 350.