Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Travellers and supporters demand human rights at Dale Farm, there is no human right to break the law; the illegal travellers have no legal case
The Dale Farm travellers' site has been fairly controversial, but it highlights a lack of proper traveller sites in the UK both permanent and temporary.
At Dale Farm, some travellers have set home illegally breaking the law.
And the travellers’ case is also weakened by the discovery that some of the travellers have luxury homes back in Ireland which undermines the narrative developed that they have nowhere to go.
Basildon Council has been forced to start the process of removal of the illegal pitches after complaints by residents.
For local residents, this has been a victory, as some people who saw the various documentaries couldn’t fail to notice that locals were threatened with violence by travellers.
Such behaviour cannot be tolerated and anyone threatening violence should be subject to the full force of the law.
But the problem remains, travellers need sites.
Some of the Caravans from the Dale Farm travellers' site have upped sticks and have now set up an illegal camp 55 miles away.
They have done so on mass, which has led local residents fearing that many more are on their way.
Around 20 families have moved from Essex to Stockwood Park near Luton in Bedfordshire.
Currently they have gaining access to a 100-hectare piece of land illegally.
Those who stayed at Dale Farm, where travellers have been in a ten-year battle with Basildon Council, were given a last-minute reprieve from the High Court after a judge ruled that the proposed measures ‘may go further’ than the terms of the enforcement notices.
One of the travellers, Flint Devons said:
“I moved to Luton rather than wait for the bailiffs because my health was suffering. My son and daughter were already in schools in Essex. Then we had to move and lose it all. We came to Luton because we've been here before. The word has now spread back to Dale Farm. There'll be 20 to 40 more caravans coming from Dale Farm. We have nowhere else to go.”
A spokesman for Luton Borough Council said:
“The council was made aware of the encampment and immediately started the standard legal procedure for eviction. We expect to move them on very soon.”
The cost of the operation to evict travellers puts a strain on council budgets; it would be far easier to solve the problem by set up permanent and temporary sites, than continually move people on.
The travellers have attracted high profile campaigners to their cause such as Vanessa Redgrave but the fundamental question remains, the travellers broke the law.
They have no legal right.
In scenes bordering on farce, Basildon Council had another legal hitch thrown in their way as a judge granted a last-gasp injunction to delay further action.
Basildon Council leader Tony Ball said he was 'extremely disappointed and frustrated' by the decision, but added:
“The motion was put forward to the High Court without notice, which meant the judge only had one side of the story and therefore has given the council until Friday to go back to the High Court to make its argument. I am absolutely clear that, in this issue on Friday, the court will find in the council’s favour and the clearance will be able to continue.”
And legally the council have won every case on this issue.
The final cost is said to run into the region of £18 million pounds.
Another twist to this story is that the UK Government's planning changes will help stop illegal traveller camps in future.
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University