Travellers to be banned from green belt
Gypsies will be banned from camping on green belt land after the government revealed its streamlined planning policy for Traveller sites.
The policy – which is separate to the National Planning Policy Framework, expected tomorrow – has condensed 54 pages of Traveller guidance into just eight pages.
The government said the aim of the new policy was to give power back to local authorities, protect green space and promote more private Traveller sites.
It says that Traveller sites in the green belt are ‘inappropriate development’ and they should only approved in ‘very special circumstances’.
The policy gives councils the freedom and responsibility to determine the right level of Traveller site provision in their area, in consultation with local communities, while - the government argues - ensuring fairness in the planning system.
The government said other key aims of the policy were:
- that plan-making and decision-taking should aim to reduce the number of unauthorised developments and encampments and make enforcement more effective
- for local planning authorities to ensure their local plan includes fair, realistic and inclusive policies
- to increase the number of Traveller sites in appropriate locations with planning permission, to address under-provision and maintain an appropriate level of supply
- to reduce tensions between settled and Traveller communities in plan-making and planning decisions
- to enable provision of suitable accommodation from which Travellers can access education, health, welfare and employment infrastructure
- for local planning authorities to have due regard to the protection of local amenities and the local environmental
Bob Neill, local government minister, said: ‘Top-down targets from central government failed to provide adequate land for travellers and caused tensions with the local settled community. People want to see fair play in the planning system, treating everyone fairly and equally.
‘These new policies will allow local authorities to govern their own affairs whilst ensuring that both travellers and the settled communities get a fair deal through the planning system.’
The government said it had also been looking at the inequalities faced by Traveller groups and would shortly be publishing a report from the ministerial working group.