The Greater London Authority (GLA) has warned that the growing number of people unlawfully camping on Parliament Square are spoiling the Square for Londoners and visitors and threaten to create a public health hazard.
GLA wardens who patrol the square report that campers have been dumping all kinds of refuse such as glass and plastic bottles as well as using the Square as an open air toilet, leading to damage of the grass area and flowerbeds surrounding the Square.
A spokesperson for Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said the area was “being turned into an offensive eyesore and health hazard by a small group of people who have taken to camping on the Square.”
In recent weeks those using the square as a camp site have have been advised that they do not have permission to camp on the square. Letters were issued to each of the campers last weekend and again yesterday (August 16) asking them to leave the square.
The Mayor’s office stress that efforts to remove the campers do not include Brian Haw’s protest against the war in Iraq which the Mayor’s office stress is lawful.
His spokesperson commented that “the Mayor of London respects Brian Haw’s peaceful protest but others have clearly overstepped the mark.”
“If other people wish to camp in London, there are a number of locations with the appropriate facilities such as toilets and showers. Parliament Square is not a campsite and no city can tolerate a situation where people are setting up tents and urinating and defecating on one of its central squares.”
“This kind of behaviour is offensive to Londoners living and working in this area and to the thousands of tourists visiting this iconic part of London.”