Travellers decamp on village common

By David GreenA CONSERVATION group fears a travellers' encampment on a village common may cause significant damage to wildlife-rich grassland.The travellers have moved on to Mellis Common, near Eye, for the second year in succession and Suffolk Wildlife Trust, which owns the land, has already instigated legal proceedings to get them removed.

By David Green

A CONSERVATION group fears a travellers' encampment on a village common may cause significant damage to wildlife-rich grassland.

The travellers have moved on to Mellis Common, near Eye, for the second year in succession and Suffolk Wildlife Trust, which owns the land, has already instigated legal proceedings to get them removed.

A hearing to apply for an order requiring the travellers to move off has been arranged for Norwich County Court on Wednesday.


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The group of travellers at Mellis Common - a designated County Wildlife Site - has told police they intend to stay only a week.

However, Suffolk Wildlife Trust fears damage to the plant communities will be greater this year because the ground is waterlogged following recent rain.

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Trust spokesman, Steve Aylward, said: “The movement of caravans and 4x4 vehicles will cause damage by compressing the soil and creating ruts.”

He added the area of common being used by the travellers, close to the village primary school, was important for plants such as green-winged orchids, quaking grass, scabia and knapweed.

“It is a very different situation to last year, when it was much drier. There is a danger of significant and long-term damage to the grassland,” said Mr Aylward.

He added the trust was looking into the possibility of grazing the common with cattle in future, if a grazier could be found.

“Travellers are less likely to camp on land where heavy cattle will lean and rub themselves against expensive caravans and 4x4 vehicles,” said Mr Aylward.

Mellis residents said yesterday they hoped the travellers would leave the common in a cleaner state this year.

Last year the trust had to bring in a skip and employ contractors to clear up waste, which included human effluent and hedge cuttings.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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