What ARE the rules?

Discussion in 'England' started by ChrisG46, May 10, 2009.

  1. ChrisG46

    ChrisG46 Read Only Funster

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    I was watching a weird item on the BBC East (Look East) news on Friday night. They had an item about Clacton council banning motorhomes from being used overnight on the seafront road.

    There was a lady with a panel van conversion doing the complaining, and a councillor trotting out criticism of motorhomers tipping "nasty waste" down the drains.

    My understanding is that overnighting in your motorhome on public roads is a no-no in the UK anyway - does anyone have a through knowledge of the real rules?

    Ta!
     
  2. Boo

    Boo Read Only Funster

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    Hi Chris,

    Well, as the law stands you could park wherever you want mate...........travellers do!

    Takes about 4-8 months to get evicted :thumb:

    As far as local by-laws.................I really havn't a clue but I am sure there will be someone along any min that does :Wink:

    Boo
     
  3. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    From the investigations I've made (still awaiting some responses to enquiries) there appears to be no national legislation either allowing or preventing any vehicles being used for overnight sleeping on public roads.

    Parking legislation is, in the main, devolved to local authorities. Where there is a two tier system, county councils are usually responsible for on-road parking and district councils are responsible for off-road parking (though sometimes district councils have responsibility for on-road parking as well).

    There have been a number of reports over the years of some motorhomers "tipping "nasty waste" down the drains" and, whilst some may not be true, it would appear that many are true. If you are sufficiently interested, Chris, it might be worth sending a Freedom of Information request to Tendring Council (which covers Clacton) asking them to provide the evidence on which the councillor based his claim (or Essex CC if it was a county councillor).

    It is also the case that some motorhomers will deliberately flout "no overnighting" rules because they think that they are above the law and, on occasion, that has led to daytime bans as well as overnighting bans.

    What is definitely the case is that local authorities have to strike a balance between all sections of the community. If councillors are faced with complaints from residents about the behaviour of motorhomers whilst hearing little or no evidence of the positive benefits which visitors in motorhomes bring to their towns then they will act on those complaints and bans will result.

    What is needed is for responsible motorhome owners to make positive approaches to local authorities in which they live and/or wish to visit, pointing out the benefits which can accrue to areas which provide facilities for motorhomes.

    As regards travellers, the situation is complicated because most of their number are able (rightly or wrongly) to claim the protection of the Race Relations Act. Even where they claim such protection without justification the local authority involved has to prove that. The eviction process is something which local authorities are stuck with rather than something they welcome.

    Graham
     
  4. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    When we first bought a MH and joined the CC I asked them this question. I was very surprised to be phoned by a solicitor soon afterwards.

    Much legal speak and covering of backside with lead shields brought the answer - yes it's perfectly legal.

    But.

    If they want to get you they can - for causing an obstruction or the like.

    She said be sensible and reasonable and you should be OK.

    Of course local council regulations can bring in restrictions but I guess they must make these quite clear.

    That was 2 years ago, if you are in the CC ring and ask.
     
  5. davejen

    davejen Funster

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    I quite often see big trucks (usually foreign) parked in lay-bys and even on main roads where it looks like the driver may be asleep inside (cab curtains shut) and still there the next day. I suppose plod thinks it's too much paperwork to to anything, so they are left to go on their merry way when they are ready. WHO KNOWS?
    Regards, Dave:thumb:
     
  6. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I think the answer is probably in Brian's post - "If they want to get you they can - for causing an obstruction or the like." Nothing to do with the amount of paperwork but, rather, the public interest (though, of course, it is not in the public interest for the police to generate unnecessary paperwork which wastes their time).

    If a vehicle is not causing an obstruction, is parked in accordance with any parking bye-laws and is displaying lights if/as necessary then it is probably not in the public interest for the police to take any action.

    If, however, the vehicle is causing a potential hazard and/or obstructing other users of the highway where it is then the police would be justified in taking action.

    Graham
     
  7. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    If you are parked legally their is no rule that I'm aware of that says you can't sleep in your vehicle .. be it a truck, motorhome or car. In fact the Highway Code advises to do just that if you are tired.. and if the Police ask you to move on you explain that you are too tired and feel it would be dangerous, but if he insists then ask for a written instruction with his number, then advise him that if you have an accident due to being tired he will be held to account .. Can't see any officer taking that risk.. can you ?

    Personally we never wild camp, that's our choice but I support those who do provided they are within the law, not upsetting anyone and don't dump waste indiscriminately.
     
  8. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    I've now finally received responses to the questions I asked about national legislation in regarding to overnight camping alongside roads and/or in lay-bys. A message from the DfT sent on 7th April has only just reached me after I chased it up.

    Anyway, it appears that there is no national legislation either permitting or prohibiting such camping but there may well be local restrictions in place. Any stopping would also have to comply with parking legislation (e.g. showing of lights etc).

    Full details of correspondence Here.

    Graham
     
  9. Hopesy

    Hopesy Read Only Funster

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    Probably setting myself up to be shot down but eh oh....... I am plod and on the beat that i patrol there are a number of HGV drivers who work for a nearby Logistics company, they "wildcamp" (although it's there's nothing wild about it) in their motorhomes on a quiet seldom used road, they are never moved on and i stop every so often for a chat and to make sure all is ok (sometimes boy racers use the road for their fun). I cannot see any problem with overnighting parked sensibly in a layby though why you'd want to next to a major A road is beyond me for lots of reasons. Where thereare NO OVERNIGHT PARKING signs it would be a bye law and enforceable by police or the local authority although i dont see many enforcement officers working after midnight.
    As for travellers if they are on private land it's down to the land owner to evict them, if they are on local authority land its down to them to get them off but in my personal experience they quite often don't rush these things as they're criticised for not providing an official site. The police need to demonstrate an increase in crime in the local area to the site to be able to apply for an eviction notice with powers not to return to the same site within three months. I have been involved in evictions where travellers are speaking on mobile phones to top barristers giving their time for free and surprisingly they know a bit more about the law than a general patrol police officer. These are my personal views not the views of the constabulary.
     
  10. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    Why ?

    I can't see you taking any flak round here for talking good common sense.

    In fact now you've come out of the closet ( cell ? ) you're expert opinion will be much valued round here.

    You might like to brush up on "can I enjoy a glass of wine", that crops up every 7.6 days.
     
  11. daveyboy

    daveyboy Read Only Funster

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    if an hgv driver runs out of weekly driving time then the law says if he is not back at base then he must park up for a weekly rest period. which can be 24 hours, 36 hours or 45 hours. depending on what work they have done in the previous weeks.
    as long as they are parked legally then the police would be hard pressed to move them on without good reason. infact with foreign drivers especially its normally the police or vosa who insist they park up for this amount of time.
    the truck driver might not want to but its the law.
     
  12. BuzzLand

    BuzzLand Deleted User

    Boo is right on the money, the system in place is set up to dumb you down and keep you in check. I personally wouldn't want to bother myself with the stress but 'freemen on the land' are experts at running rings about the authorities in similar situations.

    The good thing on our side is that common law which is an undeniable right to any British-born citizen cannot be revoked and if you challenge them on what they are preaching they have to follow the eviction practices/statutes.

    They (autocrats) can whinge and stand there all they want but you have as long as you aknowledge their request you do not have to agree to it at all to what they say.

    Bear in mind that gypsys travel in packs (its one of the ways they can pyschologically out-pressure officials who hassle them from time to time).

    As is also pointed out they can hide behind their 'Romany' race status. Which I think is a cop-out to be Romany you have to be born into their 'tribe'. This gives them an unfair monopoly on free campsites provided for them which we'd not get.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2009
  13. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    For goodness sake, not that old rubbish again.

    Our legal system is based on a combination of Common (or Case) Law, Equity and Statute Law (Legislation). Where there is a conflict Statute Law takes precedence, no matter how much people like "freemen of the land" prefer to think otherwise.

    Please don't come back and quote Magna Carta. As pointed out on a previous thread, the Great Revolution of 1688 overrode Magna Carta and numerous precedents since then have confirmed the Supremacy of Parliament - which means that, where there is a clash, Statute Law prevails.

    Graham
     
  14. John Guthrie

    John Guthrie Read Only Funster

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    No overnight parking signs

    Having travelled all over Scotland in recent years it has always disappointed me to see how many no overnight signs there are in lay-bys which provide pretty safe places to stop overnight. Some such signs are there for good reason i.e. safety implications where the parking is hard up against the main road. Any motorhome parked overnight in such a position just off a main road would be constantly "rocked" by passing heavy goods vehicles which would not be conducive to peace of mind or sleep if of a nervous disposition. Sadly there are many such signs in places where this is not the case and the question arises what useful purpose they serve. This is especially so where the lay-by is well off the road masked by trees bushes etc and well away from dwellings.
    To me it does nothing to promote tourism in Scotland and in many instances local authorities appear to be mean spirited and gives rise to the belief if you give power to some bodies they will tend to abuse it. These bodies may feel by preventing Motorhomers parking overnight this will reduce the risk of litter destroying the amenity but the vast majority of people likely to spend time there would either use the provided litter bins or take their litter away with them.
    From time to time I have stopped overnight where these signs have been and the police have never approached me. Perhaps I have been lucky but I have always wondered if these signs are legal since I have never seen any such sign bearing the penalty for non-compliance.
    On the subject of whether or not it is wise to indulge in drinking alcohol whilst parked in such a place I think it would be asking for trouble in case you were approached by the Police and if this happened you would be liable to be given a breath test and have difficulty in proving you had no intention of driving. Most Police Officers are reasonable people and are so busy nowadays they tend to turn a blind eye to very minor infringements of the road traffic law - at least that has been my experience.
     
  15. GJH

    GJH Funster Life Member

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    An interesting point, John. Are the restrictions you have seen specifically aimed at motorhomers? I would expect that, in general, the restriction is aimed at everyone rather than just motorhomers.

    I wonder if the authorities concerned are using the restrictions as a means of trying to prevent the setting up of illegal traveller camps and/or a means of dealing with them speedily if any are set up?

    I would suggest that anyone who does come across such restrictions might send a letter/e-mail to the authority involved asking for the reason(s) behind the restrictions. The letter could point out the difference between responsible (one night only) use by the majority of motorhomers and the illegal/anti-social behaviour of some other groups and ask for consideration to be given to relaxing the restrictions.

    Such an approach could well produce the required result, especially if an offer is also made to assist in drawing up the revised order. It has worked in other areas.

    Graham
     
  16. BuzzLand

    BuzzLand Deleted User

    Statute law prevails if you let it prevail.

    Sorry Graham but the powers-that-be can quote the statutes all they want, the thing is a statute is based on admiralty law, and it's something that is up for negotiation, a contract. This is one reason you can dispute parking tickets and certain other factors.
    Open your eyes a bit and you are actually a citizen with rights and not a peasant with privilages ;)
    if you've got the time and inclination. :)
     
  17. John Guthrie

    John Guthrie Read Only Funster

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    No overnight parking signs

    Hi Graham, I guess these signs apply across the board but apart from the so called Travelling people who in my part of Scotland totally ignore them anyway and park anywhere they please including park and ride car parks the most likely people to want to overnight park would be caravaners and those running motor homes. It is ironic that one section of society feels it can flaunt the signs with impunity and be supplied with portable loos, skips etc by the local authority whilst everyone else is wary of doing the same in case the Police intervene. In certain parts of the Highlands where there are no dwellings for miles you can still come across these signs where you could not possibily cause annoyance to anyone that is of course if you are lucky enough to find a suitable lay by in the first place. Thankfully there are many places in the Highlands where you can park safely off the road a short distance and as a rule you will not be disturbed if you do so carefully and with discretion.

    I can well understand the presence of these signs in parking areas where local residents living adjacent might be troubled by noise from generators or loud music but most lay bys are not situated close to dwelling houses except perhaps in some villages or hamlets.

    I take the point you make about contacting the local authority with the query you outlined and it is a tempting one. I recently came across a sign in Aviemore prohibiting the parking of caravans at any time and everything else overnight. I parked there during the day while shopping with no problems. One car park in the centre of Pitlochry prohibits caravans at all times and allows motorhomes to park overnight free after 6 p.m. until 8 a.m. the following day (if I can remember rightly.) Were the Authorities to relax these restrictions to permit overnight parking would the owners of sites be happy with this? I doubt it. Likewise the C.C. and C. and C.C.

    One can but hope.

    Kind regards,

    J.G.
     
  18. Elvis

    Elvis Read Only Funster

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    Taxed & so on

    The advantage a MH has over a caravan for e.g. is that we have to pay road tax, insurance and MOT, it'sa licenced road vehicle so in my opinion, if my MH is all road legal to include my road tax, and I abide by parking rules, then I can park where I bloody well like (& I do!) & if Iam asleep inside, then so bloody what!!! As long as I am not breaking any other laws such as dumping rubbish (something else the pikies love to do!), public order offences and so on and not parked on some private land without permission.


    As for this Council in Clacton (not somewhere I feel the urge to visit... ever!!!!), then I think they should get some proof before they start banning MHs and perhaps they should have a spot for MHs to park up, with chem waste & rubbish facilities.... mmmm .... bloody fascists!!!
    Grrrrrrr!!! It seems everyone has rights in this country, unless you & your parents (& further back!) were born here!! :Angry:

    Phew... feel better now :Eeek:
     
  19. Baggins

    Baggins Read Only Funster

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    I couldn't agree more.

    As far as I'm aware all parking/waiting/loading restrictions on public roads have to be covered by a properly constituted TRO (at a cost to the local rate-payer of between £2k & £6k each!). All have to be accompanied by correct signage/lineage.

    Many 'bye-law' signs are very difficult to enforce and anyway, as said before, the police have better things to do.

    By far the biggest chance of getting a fixed penalty ticket is where the local council has taken control over on/off street parking enforcement where you will get Civil Enforcement Officers working all hours to grab the brownie points. BUT they still have to have a specific TRO in force that stops MCs parking on the highway as is the case in Poole where residents pressed for one last year.

    As many lay-bys are covered by the Highways Agency - they still have to have TRO in force - I shall try to get a definative answer there.



    BW
     
  20. BuzzLand

    BuzzLand Deleted User

    I hear you on that mate I'm all for what you say.

    This is one reason why I get a bee in my bonnet about the sanitised attitudes I hear for regulating us and preventing us from sleeping where we park and the way is clear.
     

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