LAST week was another challenging one for residents near Barrows Hill in North Abingdon as the site saw another illegal occupation by travellers.

This is the latest in a series of such incidents affecting my constituents. This has particularly affected communities in Abingdon and Kidlington in recent years.

Local residents are always understandably frustrated and concerned when these incidents occur.

Read again: Gas cannisters and broken glass left by travellers

The encampments are often set up on local recreational land. The land is then often left strewn with rubbish and sometimes damaged or dirty.

It is absolutely unfair that local residents are disturbed by such illegal traveller sites like these – and we need to ensure that a long-term solution to ensure is in place so that it doesn’t keep happening.

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Piles of rubbish left by travellers at Barrows Hill in Abingdon this month. Picture: Mark Croft

A lot of the frustration comes from the fact that the current system is very slow to respond. From the perspective of local residents it takes far too long for the various authorities to go through all the stages needed to deal with an illegal encampment and move them on.

I’ve had numerous residents in touch with me expressing these concerns.

Read again: Police to get new powers to move travellers on

I have listened to residents and I will be doing what I can in Parliament to improve legislation so that this is less likely to happen in the future.

Recently there was a Government consultation on traveller encampments. This set out some measures to make it easier and quicker for the police to intervene and remove travellers from land they should not be on.

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However, welcome as some of these measures are, they may not be enough.

Our aim should be to make illegal encampments stop happening altogether.

And that does mean ensuring that there are enough properly designated temporary traveller sites, too.

Read again: Council installs new fencing after travellers leave

These need to be provided at sites that do not create disturbance for residential areas, and that provide enough capacity that illegal encampments in residential areas become unnecessary.

They would also make it much easier for the authorities to carry out their responsibilities , particularly in ensuring that children are safeguarded and in receipt of educational support.

We need to find a long-term solution.

In the meantime, if incidents like this one at Barrows Hill happen again, I will work to ensure that the disruption is ended as quickly as possible and that the authorities communicate with residents effectively.