New guidance issued to minimise disruption while managing unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller camps
The Scottish Government has published “clearer and more practical” advice for local authorities on how to manage unauthorised camping by Gypsy/Travellers.
The revised guidance, which includes best practice and case studies on dealing with unauthorised sites, balances Gypsy/Travellers rights to their traditional way of life with the need for responsibility and regard for others.
The guidance is based on two key principles:
- That unauthorised sites should be managed to minimise disruption
- The same standards of behaviour are expected from all, be that Gypsy/Travellers or the settled population living around such a site
Development of the publication has involved wide-ranging discussions and input from key stakeholders – including councils, Police Scotland, Gypsy/Travellers and equality groups.
Local government minister Kevin Stewart said: “We are working toward a Scotland where the benefits of a multi-cultural country are recognised and celebrated – and Gypsy/Travellers are a valued part of our diverse society.
“Gypsy/Travellers have a right to their traditional way of life, but that right must be exercised responsibly and balanced against the rights of the wider community. This revised guidance supports that approach.”
Cllr Harry McGuigan, COSLA community wellbeing spokesperson, has welcomed the revised guidance as an important tool to strengthen local authority approaches to managing unauthorised sites in a positive and balanced manner.
He said: “COSLA welcomes the collaborative approach that has been used during the development of this guidance over the last few months.
“Drawing on the knowledge and expertise within local authorities, and the views of Gypsy/Traveller communities, has strengthened this guidance and set out clear roles, rights and responsibilities for all those involved with unauthorised sites.”