Housing minister and MP for Esher and Walton Dominic Raab has launched a consultation to look at “whether and how to strengthen powers to address illegal caravan encampments”.

The government is to review the law and powers to deal with unauthorised encampments in England.

In the past, some travellers have set up illegally in West Molesey Recreation ground, the Hurst Pool parking lot, and the Alexandra Recreation Ground in Tolworth, and sometimes a clean-up is necessary once they move on. Antisocial behaviour has also been linked to the encampments.

However, 84 per cent of caravans in England are on sites authorised for travellers.

Speaking on BBC 4’s Today programme, the minister said: “Although the vast majority behave decently and properly, there’s still 3,700 caravans on unauthorised sites- that’s the highest level since 2014.

“Local communities, settled communities, are frustrated by the illegal occupation and some of the antisocial behaviour that can accompany it and the clear-up costs.”

He said part of the job is to provide more alternative sites, which have increased by a third since 2010.

Mr Raab added: “But you’ve still got a significant albeit a minority of the total number of caravans on unauthorised sites.

“We’re looking at the enforcement powers across the board to see if they are adequate and to see whether they need to be strengthened and make sure that the rule of law is applied vigorously across our society.

“We need to respond better, part of that is about the provision of authorised sites, part of it is about the coordination between local authorities and police because we’re talking about not just council powers but also police powers.”

He said if the laws are applied consistently it would be a “good thing” for the traveller community “because otherwise you get the overwhelming majority who are doing the right thing” having their reputations “tarnished”.

The consultation began on April 5 and will run for ten weeks.