Frequently Asked Questions
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Below are some frequently asked questions from Residents and Local Authorities. If your question isn't listed below please contact us with your query and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Q1. If we adopt ‘Negotiated Stopping’ in our county will this attract loads more Gypsy and Traveller people to our area?
Gypsy and Traveller people travel in particular areas specifically for work or family reasons, those people will need to stay in that area regardless of whether there is a Negotiated Stopping Policy or not – having the protocol in place will just make it easier for your local authority to manage the encampment to benefit everyone – no one is going to travel 100s of miles to an area just for a port-a-loo and rubbish bin!
Q2. Why can’t everyone just live in a house?
A ‘Nomadic’ or ‘Gypsy or Traveller’ way of life is protected by law, one young Traveller woman we spoke to explained “imagine you’d lived in house all your life and you were suddenly forced to live on the road, that’s what it like for Gypsy & Traveller people the other way around”. There is also a national housing crisis already – there are simply not enough affordable homes for everyone.
Q3. Why don’t Gypsy and Traveller people just pay to stay on a ‘normal’ campsite like everyone else?
Most holiday campsites will not allow Gypsy & Traveller people to stay, there are many restrictions not conducive to a Gypsy way of life plus the cost of staying on a holiday site is prohibitively expensive (especially if you are have a caravan for Mum & Dad and ones for the children, boys and girls separately).
Q4. If you live in a house in winter and get services and amenities paid for where you live why should Gypsy and Traveller people get services paid for in a different area when they decide to go elsewhere in summer?
If you apply that logic - that you are only allowed services in places where you pay local taxes - then a holiday maker or businessperson would not be allowed to dispose of rubbish when they go on holiday or travel for work! Everyone, at one time or another, uses services provided in an area they don't pay taxes in.
Q5. If staying somewhere permanently is better for health and education why do Gypsy and Traveller people move children around the country?
For many Gypsy and Traveller a settled life is not problematic but for some a nomadic way of life is a crucial part of their historical identity, but a better provision of services is offered through a Negotiated Stopping Policy which will improve lives for all.
Q6. Travellers’ have pitched up in my area what do I do?
This question implies that Travellers turning up is, by definition, a problem. An unauthorized encampment does not mean an illegal encampment. Unauthorized just means no permission has been given yet, not that the encampment is illegal. Walking your dog along the beach is unauthorized, but not against the law. So, you don't need to do anything, unless you have reason to believe an infraction is taking place. In which case contact your local authority and find out if they have adopted the Negotiated Stopping Policy? If so they should follow the procedure set out in their own protocol.
Q7. Local camp has anti-social behaviour what do I do?
Contact your local police in the same as you would for any other anti-social behaviour – (keeping in mind that the anti-social behaviour may only be coming from ONE member of the group – and in that case only the perpetrator should be punished or penalised NOT the whole group)
Q8. Dogs are running wild what should I do?
Under the recommended Negotiated Stopping agreement residents on a Negotiated Stopping site are required to keep their dogs tied up and under control at all times.
Q9. I’d like to help my local Traveller community – what do I do?
Lobby your Local Authority to adopt Negotiated Stopping using these campaign tools or speak to your local residents association or Traveller Liason officers to see if they can arrange any cultural awareness sessions. Communication and respect on both sides is key to easing community tensions
Q10. How long will the temporary site be available for and will they keep coming back?
Each Local Authority will have their own protocols – in Leeds, where this has been tried and tested the recommended initial period is 28 days – and that no site can be used more than once in any 12 month period – however it could be less, or if things are going smoothly and there is no objection from either party, then it could be longer.
Q11. I’d like to find out more about Gypsy & Traveller culture/people – where do I look?
There are lots of organisations who are working to improve the lives the lives of Gypsy and Traveller people and they can be found in the Get Advice section of the Travellers’ Times website www.travellerstimes.org.uk along with lots of other information, films, resources, positive news stories and features – and you could subscribe to the bi-annual magazine and e-newsletter for free too.