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Travelling People

Volume 467: debated on Tuesday 13 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the impact of itinerant Traveller settlements on local communities; and if she will make a statement. (162024)

The Government recognise the problems that unauthorised encampments (where Gypsies and Travellers camp on land they do not own) can cause for both the settled community and Gypsies and Travellers themselves. Increased authorised site provision, coupled with effective use of enforcement powers is vital to addressing these problems. The Government have established a new framework to increase authorised site provision, and provided additional resources to support the framework and is working with the Local Government Association and Improvement and Development Agency to assist local authorities and others to use enforcement powers more effectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many itinerant Travellers there were in England in each of the last five years. (162027)

The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes data on the number of Gypsy and Traveller caravans on authorised public and private sites, and unauthorised encampments and developments twice yearly. Copies of the latest publication ‘Count of Gypsy Caravans on 18 January 2007: Last Five Counts’ is available on the Department's website at:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/index.asp?id=1153575.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the accommodation needs for Gypsies and Travellers in (a) England and (b) Devon. (162330)

Local authorities are required to assess the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers in their areas in the same way as they are required to assess the accommodation needs of all of the communities in their area.. Regional Assemblies are using these assessments to determine in regional spatial strategies how many pitches should be provided across the region and in each local planning authority area. These assessments are now under way in all local authorities in England, and the large majority are complete. Councils in Devon published the final report of their assessment in early 2007, and it is available on East Devon district council's website at:

www.eastdevon.gov.uk/content/final_report_devon_wide_gypsy _and_traveller_housing_needs_assessment.pdf

The first detailed proposals were submitted to the South West Regional Assembly in March 2007.