Gypsy and Traveller Site Options
4. What are the Issues?
4.1 Gypsies and Travellers without an authorised pitch for their caravans are homeless. A shortage of authorised sites underlies the unauthorised development of sites by Gypsies and Travellers without planning permission, and unauthorised encampments on roadsides, car parks or other pieces of land. Such unauthorised sites provide uncertain and often very poor living conditions for Gypsies and Travellers, disruption and anxiety for settled neighbours, and costs to local authorities in management and enforcement. They worsen community tensions and make community cohesion and social inclusion harder to achieve.
4.2 Gypsies and Travellers experience the worst health and
education status of any disadvantaged group in England as a
result. Life expectancy is, for example, 12 years less for women
and 10 years less for men than among the settled community. In
2007, 7% of children of Gypsy/Romany origin and 8.4% of Traveller
children of Irish Heritage achieved 5 or more A* to C grades in
GCSE or equivalent exams including English and Mathematics in
England compared to a national average of 45.4%. 18% of Gypsy
& Traveller mothers have experienced the death of a child
compared to less than 1% of the settled community. Research
further shows a consistent link between such measures of
disadvantage and the shortage of good quality Gypsy and Traveller
sites. It is against this background that all local authorities
are directed to find suitable, deliverable and sustainable sites
within their areas to meet their needs.