How can I protect my land?
Any steps necessary for the removal of unauthorised encampments on private land are the responsibility of the landowner.
An unlawful incursion onto your land can be a substantial nuisance, interfering with its normal usage, but it can also be costly. As well as the legal costs of removal landowners may incur costs in clearing any waste left behind.
The site protection measures described here are not exhaustive and will not guarantee that unauthorised access is prevented but they will make your land less inviting.
Remember to consider planning regulations and environmental issues before implementing measures and to ensure that measures affect only your land and not that of neighbours or the highway. You should seek advice on these aspects.
Review your vulnerability
Firstly have a good look at the perimeter of your land and with a critical eye consider how you would go about getting onto it with a vehicle and trailer. Don’t forget trespassers have been known in the past to remove ineffective barriers and to bridge gaps!
Mounds are formed using rubble or hard-core as a base finished with topsoil then planted or grassed. These can add to your landscaping and do not need to be ugly. Strategically placed they can prevent access to a perimeter, infill gaps between trees and other obstacles and can border gating which protects but preserves your authorised access.
This method can be combined with mounding with the spoil being used for the mounds. Remember to consider drainage implications. Bear in mind also that ditches can and have been bridged, they can however be effective in filling gaps in your perimeter.
There are a wide variety of obstacles that can be used; they can be effective in plugging gaps in an otherwise secure perimeter where authorised access is not required. They should be of such a nature that they cannot be readily moved even with towing equipment. These can be a cheap option utilising such things as concrete filled tyre stacks however these can be unsightly, large tree trunks or boulders can be more sympathetic. You should make sure that what you choose does not detrimentally affect the visual amenity of the area otherwise you could end up being required to remove or alter them.
There are many fencing options on the market to choose from. Steel palisade fencing is among the most effective but costs may well be a factor. Wooden fencing is more pleasing to the eye but it can be more vulnerable to damage. The spacing of posts should take into account the width of vehicles that may attempt access.
You can protect your own authorised access points with strong robust gates, preferably metal. Remember to use toughened steel padlocks and ‘boxing in’ the padlock housing helps to prevent them being forced using angle grinders etc. remember also to ensure the gate cannot simply be lifted off at the hinge end!
These are usually combined with gates and can be fixed or swing and padlocked to facilitate authorised access. Again toughened steel padlocks boxed in are advisable for a swinging barrier. The height should be configured so as to deter the average caravan trailer.