DUDLEY Council’s leader has announced that he has allocated the money needed to secure sites and areas hit by the highest number of illegal traveller encampments last year.

Councillor Qadar Zada said the cash has been identified and the council will ensure vulnerable sites in Amblecote, Woodside and central Dudley are secured before the travelling season starts.

He said: “We have already started the work and will be liaising with councillors and local residents in the area to run past our plans for their area.

“There is no issue with the money and neither is there an issue with the urgency of the work, we have already started this and we have officers working to install these as we speak.

“We recognise the importance of getting this sorted over the next few weeks.

“I want to reassure residents and that is why I’m making it clear that we have the funds ready and we are progressing with this at pace, so that we don’t get political point scoring and campaigns about this, which are unnecessary and waste residents’ time - it’s a priority for local people and therefore it’s a priority for me.

“We know incursions usually happen on sites that are accessible and we are about to secure them.”

He said the council will also be employing additional enforcement officers, introducing a borough-wide injunction and putting forward plans for a permanent site for travellers and he added: “This is a comprehensive solution to making sure that the issue of traveller incursions are dealt with effectively.

“We believe prevention is better than cure, and in the same way we would secure our homes from intruders - we will secure our parks and open spaces from unwanted visitors.”

Brompton Drive and Turners Lane in Amblecote are among the first areas where work will begin to secure sites in the next few weeks. Sites in Woodside Park, Netherton Park, Lister Road and central Dudley are also on the list and Cllr Zada added: “Any area that poses a risk we will address and with some urgency.”