TRAVELLERS who set up illegal camps will be sent packing in double quick time if Surrey County Council has its way.

The council is calling on the Government to introduce new laws to deal with the ever growing problem.

Under existing legislation it can sometimes take weeks to move travellers who have set up unauthorised sites.

The council's move is in response to demands for action from residents and businesses whose lives are often made a misery by the travellers.

Meanwhile, as it waits for the Government's reply, the council intends to be quicker off the mark in dealing with illegal camps on its land.

It will start possession proceedings immediately if the site creates an environmental health hazard or interferes with the enjoyment or use of neighbouring properties.

The council will also take prompt action if the illegal camp is a road safety hazard, or it causes an unacceptable impact on the environment.

The move has been welcomed by Surrey Heath Council which has been kept busy dealing with a rash of such camps recently.

John Sylvester, the council's planning chief, said: "The county believes, even within existing legislation, that it can speed up the process.

"We support the county on this, but of course it will still have to apply to the courts for possession orders which is where hold-ups can occur."

He added that action needed to be taken following the failure of designated sites to solve the problem.