Gypsy Travellers unauthorised encampments

Gypsy Travellers encampments are usually unauthorised and may be subject to enforcement action. There are a number of unauthorised encampments in Aberdeenshire every year.

Responsibility for dealing with unauthorised encampments depends on who owns the land.

Council owned the land

If the council owns the land, we are responsible for dealing with the encampment. Our unauthorised encampments policy (pdf 188KB) explains what we will do. Those living on the land are issued with the Gypsy Travellers code of conduct (pdf 151KB) which explains how they are expected to behave.

Privately owned land

If the land is privately owned, the landowner is responsible for dealing with the encampment. Our Gypsy Traveller Liaison Officer (GTLO), can advise the landowner on how to deal with this.

If the land isn’t owned by the council but is controlled or maintained by us like a park, the landowner is responsible for taking eviction action. Find out more in our advice for landowners considering civil action (pdf 172KB).

Legal responsibility

Following guidance from the Scottish Government, Gypsy Travellers are recognised as a minority ethnic group with distinct characteristics. When dealing with unauthorised encampments all public authorities have a legal responsibility to ensure Gypsy Travellers don't suffer discrimination because of their way of life.

We work closely with Police Scotland and other partners to ensure that unauthorised encampments are carefully managed and any matters dealt with appropriately.

Whilst legislation creates an offence to occupy or encamp without permission on any private land, in accordance with guidance from the Lord Advocate there is a general presumption against prosecution of Gypsy Travellers for setting up unauthorised encampments. However, this relates solely to the act of trespass itself and Police Scotland will respond to and investigate other offences or anti-social behaviour in the normal way, regardless of who it is alleged was responsible. Reports should be made to your Community Policing Team via '101'.

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