Over recent months, at least 19 local authorities have obtained high court injunctions to prevent Gypsies and Travellers from stopping on public land in their area. The penalty for those who do stop on land that isn’t theirs can include a fine, imprisonment and even having their property seized. When we consider that most families stopping on unauthorised sites are doing so because there is simply nowhere else to go, we think that this is unjust, disproportionate and cruel.
With local authorities largely failing to identify land in their local plans where Gypsies and Travellers can live, many families are statutorily homeless. As a result, the government’s July 2018 Caravan Count found that over 3000 families are living on unauthorised land. This creates an environment where Gypsies and Travellers are being pushed from place to place, with fewer or no safe places to stop.
We would like to express our ongoing support to London, Gypsies and Travellers who are launching a legal challenge against Bromley London Borough Council with Community Law Partnership and Garden Court Chambers. A successful challenge could prevent local authorities from being granted to issue similar injunction orders.
Speaking about the use of high court injunctions, Abbie Kirkby, Advice and Policy Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers said:
“The use of high court injunctions is ruthless and unjust; it’s comparable to putting spikes in and around cities to stop the homeless from sleeping there. Where are Gypsies and Travellers supposed to go, when local authorities try to pretend they don’t exist?”
Notes for Editor
About Friends, Families and Travellers (FFT)
Friends, Families and Travellers is a leading national charity that works on behalf of all Gypsies, Roma and Travellers regardless of ethnicity, culture or background.
Lucy Hetherington, Communications Officer
Tel: 01273 234 777 Email: email@example.com