A legal fund has been launched by the National Federation of Gypsy Liaison Groups (NFGLG) to challenge a ‘cruel and inhumane’ policy change to the treatment of Gypsies and Travellers.
Earlier this summer, a new policy was introduced with immediate effect which could have disastrous implications for Gypsies and Travellers. Under the Planning policy for traveller sites [sic], ‘Traveller’ has been redefined to exclude those who no longer travel permanently. And as such, those who can no longer travel for reasons such as ill health or old age will no longer be within the planning definition of Gypsy or Traveller. They will essentially be prevented from applying for planning permission for a site.
According to Chris Johnson, a solicitor specialising in advice for Travellers, and the academic Andrew Ryder:
[The policy] is already proving to be extremely traumatic to Gypsies and Travellers, who feel that the government is unfairly trying to erase their identity and curb their traditional way of life. It appears that Gypsies and Travellers are being punished for the longstanding shortage of sites and stopping places which has been caused by central and local government inaction and failure.
IRR News: ‘Notes on the new Conservative Traveller policy‘