Give councils more power on travellers

Travellers previously at Bayview
Travellers previously at Bayview

THE Scottish Government is being urged to change the law and give councils the power to take action against gypsy travellers setting up camps on private ground.

The call has come from MP Lindsay Roy, who says the Government needs to “stop dithering” and give authorities more backing.

Mr Roy said: “Holyrood seems to think the solution is to do nothing, but the only way we can rid ourselves of this nuisance is by legislating in the appropriate manner.”

The MP has been a long-time critic of the apparent reluctance by MSPs to take the issue seriously and is calling for positive action.

“Travellers setting up illegal encampments in my constituency has posed massive problems for some companies who have been forced to spend thousands of pounds they can ill afford to rid themselves of these unwanted visitors,” he added.

“It is not just the legal costs, but the bill for cleaning up the disgusting mess such as broken glass, rubbish and even human faeces that is often left behind.

“And it should not forgotten that, on occasions, employees have been subjected to abuse and threats.

“Like other local authorities, Fife Council is effectively powerless and the police are similarly hampered by the policy of non-harassment.

“I fully accept the majority of travellers are perfectly decent people who cause no problems, but there must be firm legislation in place to deal with the minority who don’t care what problems they cause.

“With rights come responsibilities and they cannot be allowed to behave in such an uncivilised manner in a civilised society.”

Pictured is a group of travellers who’d set up camp at East Fife FC’s stadium.