Evictions of Travellers

What is affected
Land Social/public
Land Private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 01 June 2003
Region E [ Europe ]
Country England
Location country-wide

Affected persons

Total 150
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative "Local sources estimate that, in the past l8 months, more than l50 plots (individually-owned portions) on Gypsy-owned caravan parks, together worth about 3 million euro, have been ‘cleared’ by local councils after refusing planning permission. [Note: in the UK, the term ‘Gypsy’ is often used positively and interchangeably with ‘Travellers’ or ‘nomadic families. In other contexts, this term may be regarded as derogatory. The latter is certainly not COHRE’s intention.] Another 200 plots are under similar threat. Some critics have described this process as ‘ethnic cleansing’. Official figures reportedly show that, since l997, the number of council-run caravan sites has dropped from 327 to 313. In the same period, the number of Gypsy caravans in the UK has risen from l2 796 to l4 362. [TERF; Indymedia]

Well over 50 nomadic communities in Wolvey Road (Warwickshire) and Little Waltham (Essex) were evicted this year even though they own the land they were evicted from. They were served with eviction orders on the grounds that they had not submitted planning applications prior to commencing with construction on the sites. When applications for planning were filed, they were turned down. The eviction at Little Waltham drew widespread public attention. During the eviction, a caravan was destroyed and access to the park was barred so that the community could not retrieve their caravans. [BBC, Trans-European Roma Federation]

A 2003 report, intended for Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, estimated that the UK needs up to
2 000 more pitches (caravan stands) and a further network of 2 000 stopping places to facilitate nomadic movement. It said ministers needed to provide “a strong lead” because there was “no clear, widely understood national policy”. The Deputy Prime Minister’s Office says it is continually reviewing the situation, and campaigners hope to get a clause into the current Housing Bill. Ministers have recently announced that 16 million pounds is to be spent on improving existing sites in England. “We are still pushing for a new duty on local authorities,” said Andrew Ryder of the Traveller Law Reform Coalition, the body lobbying MPs. “The problems are getting worse. There’s a shortage of some 3 500 pitches which roughly equates to the number of families living in unauthorised encampments.” [BBC]"

Source: COHRE Evictions Monitor Vol 1 No 2 December 2004
Publication can be found at http://www.cohre.org/view_page.php?page_id=176
Costs €   0