In carrying out this work we are complying with several different Goverment policies and pieces of legislation.
Housing and Planning Act (2016)
Section 124 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 specifies that local housing authorities should consider the needs of people "residing in or resorting to their district with respect to the provision of sites on which caravans can be stationed, or places on inland waterways where houseboats can be moored".
The Department for Communities and Local Government has published draft guidance on how it expects local authorities to interpret this provision, you can read the guidance here.
Planning Policy for Travellers Sites
The national planning guidance set out in Planning Policy for Traveller Sites is to be read alongside the general policies of the National Planning Policy Framework.
The guidance places a requirement on local authorities to set pitch targets for Gypsies and Travellers and plot targets for Travelling Showpeople which address the likely permanent and transit site accommodation needs of their area.
National planning policy defines gypsies and travellers as “persons of nomadic habit of life whatever their race or origin, including such persons who on grounds only of their own or their family’s or dependants’ educational or health needs or old age have ceased to travel temporarily”.
To set those pitch and plot targets local authorities should prepare and maintain an up-to-date understanding of accommodation need using a robust evidence base.
In addition to setting pitch targets local authorities are required to identify a supply of specific deliverable sites, sufficient to provide five years’ worth of sites against the locally set targets. There is also a requirement to plan for a further 10 years’ supply of sites.
It also restricts circumstances in which temporary permission for Gypsy sites may be given in the Green Belt; councils are now expected to 'very strictly limit' new Traveller sites in open countryside.
Equality Act (2010)
The Act does not define race, however case law has established that Roma Gypsies and Irish Travellers are covered by the protected characteristic of race for the Equality Act 2010.
Local authorities have a duty under the Equality Act to actively seek to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and promote good race relations.