Gypsy/Travellers Information Update
This page provides regular updates on the work being carried out by the Council around unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller encampments and associated issues.
- information about current unauthorised encampments
- proposals for a byelaw preventing camping in sensitive areas
- work being undertaken to identify suitable locations for halting sites for Gypsies/Travellers
Legislation states that local authorities are responsible for providing sufficient space for Gypsies/Travellers.
Aberdeen City Council officers are in regular discussion with counterparts across the country and find that although unauthorised encampments do exist in other areas, the challenges that Aberdeen faces is unprecedented in scale.
The 2009 Accommodation Needs Assessment of Gypsies/Travellers in Grampian report - also known as the Craigforth report - identified a chronic shortage of suitable space for Gypsies/Travellers in the North-east.
Current unauthorised encampments and action (updated 5th April 2017)
- There are currently no known unauthorised encampments.
Current encampments in Aberdeen City
- The Clinterty Traveller Site is currently full.
Byelaw preventing camping in sensitive areas
A byelaw preventing camping in sensitive areas in Aberdeen has been proposed but not yet approved. It was considered at the full meeting of Aberdeen City Council on Wednesday, 14 May.
Councillors agreed (with a vote of 28-12) to:
- Move forward with the byelaw as indicated in Appendix A of the report;
- Note the comments of the Procurator Fiscal that presumption against prosecution is distinct from enforcement; and
- Instruct the Chief Executive to write to the Lord Advocate asking him to look again at the guidelines issued to Procurators Fiscal in relation to unauthorised encampment by Gypsy/Travellers and presumption against prosecution, given the problems the City Council has had in dealing with the vast number of such encampments, given that the guidelines are over 10 years old and given that there is no statutory responsibility placed upon a local authority to provide halting sites.
Byelaw procedures are set out in the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. Section 201 of the Act provides that local authorities "may make byelaws for the good rule and government of the whole or any part of their area, and for the prevention and suppression of nuisances therein".
Standing order 38 of the Council's Standing Orders and Orders of Reference means that the making of byelaws requires approval at Full Council.
Confirmation of byelaws by the Scottish Ministers is required before they come into. Hence, a camping byelaw cannot be achieved without the agreement of Scottish Ministers.
The aim of the proposed byelaw is to prevent any form of camping on the most sensitive, high profile public places in the city, where the visual and physical consequences of encampments are likely to be negative.
Council have carried out an extensive consultation process as part of the byelaw proposal.
Consultees include members of the Gypsy/Traveller community; Police Scotland; Procurator Fiscal; Community Councils; the Grampian Gypsy/Traveller Inter-agency Group; Grampian Regional Equality Council and North-East Scotland Equality Network.
Gypsy/Traveller halting sites
The Gypsy/Traveller halting site at Clinterty is currently the only Council-run facility of its kind in Aberdeen. The facility is full (accurate as of July 2015) with an active waiting list.
Aberdeen City Council is actively working towards introducing additional halting sites for Gypsies/Travellers.
A Gypsy/Traveller stakeholder group has been formed and is consulting with the community. The Grampian Gypsy/Traveller Inter-agency Group is consulting with the Gypsy/Traveller community on halting site proposals.
The consultation aims to understand and mitigate concerns raised by the settled community while ensuring the needs of the Gypsy/Traveller community are met.
Establishment of new Gypsy/Traveller halting sites will require planning permission and key decisions will require approval by elected members.
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