Revised travellers guidance next year

government will revise its good practice guidance on managing
unauthorised camping by gypsies and travellers, following the
recommendations of research carried out by three universities.

Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions said it
would do so early next year, after the research, led by Heriot-Watt
University, Edinburgh, urged the development of local strategies
based on evidence of the needs of gypsies and travellers using a
particular area, effective inter-agency working based on agreed
protocols, consultation and their inclusion in equal opportunities

is a clear indication that in some case study areas it was
extremely difficult for local authorities and the police to balance
the needs of gypsies and travellers with those of the settled
community,” says the DTLR’s summary of the research.

particular, some concerns were raised about negative attitudes and
hostility from the settled community towards gypsies and travellers
and the influence this hostility had on local authority responses
to unauthorised camping.”

research added that although unauthorised camping affects the
majority of local authorities, fewer than half had a designated
officer for dealing with these issues, with responsibility often
falling between different departments.

Furthermore, only half of all councils had a written strategy in
place, while a quarter were either developing or planned to develop
a strategy.

minister Sally Keeble denied government complacency and said the
revised guidance would “emphasise the need for greater recognition
of the rights and responsibilities of the settled and traveller
communities, as well as those of local authorities and police”.

revised some of the guidance in August 2000 because it felt some
councils were wrongly interpreting the guidance to mean they should
tolerate all types of unauthorised camping, irrespective of any
associated criminal or anti-social activity.

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