asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have approved the methodology proposed in the review of regional spatial strategy regarding Gypsies and Travellers by regional planning bodies; and by what date they expect regional planning boards to have conducted these reviews and published the results. [HL2857]
The research undertaken by a group of researchers—led by the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birmingham—entitled Preparing Regional Spatial Strategy Reviews on Gypsies and Travellers by Regional Planning Bodies was part-funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government. It is intended as a useful tool to help regional planning bodies to determine regional pitch requirements at local authority level. While we would commend the methodology to regional assemblies in considering the allocation of pitch numbers, each will need to take into account the circumstances in its area in coming to final decisions.
Currently, all regions are undertaking preliminary work to review Gypsy and Traveller issues in their regions. In the east, south-east and south-west single-issue reviews of the regional spatial strategies are under way. In the East Midlands the current regional spatial strategy review already includes interim additional pitch requirements for each local authority. The east of England is the most advanced in its process, with publication of its Issues and Options consultation document due on 8 May. In the Yorkshire and Humber region, the issue of accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers was considered at the examination in public into the draft regional spatial strategy carried out in October and November 2006. The panel report is expected to be published shortly. The need for further assessment work by the regional planning body will be considered in the light of the panel report. Revisions in the remaining areas are expected to start within two years.