New wave of evictions threatens Gypsies
Human rights campaigners have condemned a wave of evictions and court actions against Gypsies and Irish Travellers which they say are threatening to extinguish a whole way of life.
Dozens of families face the prospect of being pushed off plots of land they own and forced to move back into illegal "side-of-the road" and wasteland camping. Children will be unable to go to school and the elderly and infirm unable to access health services, say the campaigners.
Eric Pickles, the communities and local government minister, is drafting new laws to allow police more powers to evict and arrest people for trespass on public land. Planning laws are also being changed to stop applications for retrospective permission to put caravans on private land.
Pickles has already announced the reversal of previous efforts to provide "pitches" within all local authorities, abolishing the regional planning bodies which were to oversee provision of registered sites for travellers and ease the tensions caused by Gypsies being forced to camp illegally.
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