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Gypsies and Travellers

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Gypsies and Travellers and all other ethnic groups who have a particular culture, language or values, are protected from discrimination by the Race Relations [Amendment] Act 2000 and the Human Rights Act 1998.

The information below sets out how we and other official agencies will work to try to balance the rights of all those involved.

Further information

Why do Gypsies and Travellers pursue a travelling lifestyle?

Their way of life means that they travel the country, staying for various periods of time in different locations, in order to earn a living. This has been their way of life for many generations.

Do we have a duty to move Gypsies and Travellers when they are camped without permission?

No. If Gypsies and Travellers are camped on private land, it is usually the landowner’s responsibility. The Government has advised that when Gypsies and Travellers are not causing a problem, the site may be tolerated.

If Gypsies and Travellers camp on private land, what can landowners do?

  • Talk to the Gypsies and Travellers and identify any needs and see if a leaving date can be agreed.
  • If a compromise cannot be reached, and you have no option, then you can take proceedings in the county court, under the Civil Procedure Rules 1998, to obtain a court order for their eviction. There must be a minimum of two clear days between service of documents and the court hearing.

What happens if the landowner decides to let people stay on the land temporarily?

The landowner may have already obtained planning permission for a caravan site. He/she could be a farmer and the Gypsies and Travellers could be helping with fruit picking, for example. However, in some circumstances the landowner could be in breach of the planning acts and the acts dealing with the licensing of caravan sites.

You may wish to seek further advice from us about illegal encampments by calling 01724 296785.

What can we do if the landowner fails to take appropriate action to remove them?

If the landowner is in breach of any planning or licence requirements we will take proceedings against him or her. The proceedings will require removal of the illegal encampment.

Can we remove Gypsies and Travellers from our land immediately?

No, we must:

  • Make enquiries regarding the general health, welfare and children’s education
  • Ensure that the Human Rights Act 1998 has been fully complied with
  • Follow a set procedure in terms of proving ownership of land and details of the illegal encampment. This will enable us to fully obtain the necessary authority from the courts to order the Gypsies and Travellers to leave the site

What support do we offer?

Our Gypsy Liaison Officer will visit the Gypsies and Travellers to find out if they have any specific needs. These could be social, for example, housing, health or educational needs. If such needs are identified these would have to be considered in any action we take. The relevant authorities will be informed and consulted at all times.

Contact

Estates Officer (Gypsies and Travellers)

01724 296785