Parliament Square's Democracy Village camp could face removal if Westminster council's plan to introduce a new by-law goes ahead.
The camp was established a decade ago by the late peace campaigner Brian Haw but moved to the pavement after a successful eviction bid under trespass laws. The council now plans to introduce a by-law to control the use of tents and sleeping equipment in the square and surrounding areas.
Local authorities have until now been ill-equipped to deal with occupation-style protests, often facing lengthy legal battles to clear sites. The publicity surrounding the Occupy camps and the proximity of the Olympics has provided the opportunity for the government and local authorities to start creating precedents around preventing protests. Yesterday, lawyers texted the Bank of Ideas, which is currently occupying an empty UBS office on Sun Street, with a high court injunction. The St Paul's Occupy camp recently received enforcement notices but while Islington council have requested the Finsbury Square camp move on, they have declined to start legal proceedings.
Local government secretary Eric Pickles said councils could be given stronger powers to tackle protests such as at St Paul's Cathedral and Parliament Square, and that current arrangements were 'far too slow'.
'We are reviewing what further steps can be taken to increase council powers to tackle unauthorised development and occupation.'