Eviction of Gypsies and Travellers from their own land

A Gypsy/Traveller needs planning permission and a site licence from the planning authority to use their own land as a site for caravans. If you don't have the necessary permissions, you could be evicted.

Council action if you don't have planning permission

If you don't have permission to use your own land as a site for caravans, the planning authority can take action against you.

They can serve an enforcement notice, a stop notice, or seek an injunction from a court ordering you to leave the land. Failure to comply could lead to a large fine, or in the case of breaching an injunction, imprisonment.

The council can send an officer to visit your camp to see whether you have broken any planning laws. Do not try to stop this officer coming onto your land. If they have a warrant, it could be a criminal offence to try to stop them, and you could be fined.

When deciding whether to grant planning permission the local planning authority (usually the council) should consider a number of factors which can include protecting the green belt from inappropriate development and the human rights (of respect for private, home and family life) of site occupiers.

Appealing against enforcement notices

You have the right to appeal against an  enforcement notice. You can't appeal against a stop notice but you may still be able to to take legal action to stop it.

If the planning authority seek an injunction from court, you will be informed of the date of the court hearing and will be entitled to attend and speak, or be represented, on the day. The court will look at a number of factors, including: 

  • evidence about the breach of planning law 
  • the personal circumstances of the occupiers of the land 
  • whether an injunction is a proportionate action given the circumstances 

For help and advice, contact an adviser, a solicitor or a planning law expert, such as Planning Aid who can offer free advice on planning issues. Use Shelter's directory to find advice centres in your area.

What happens if an appeal fails but you don't move on?

The planning authority has the power to remove your caravan or mobile home if your appeal against an  enforcement notice fails but you still don't move. If this happens, the council may attempt to force you to pay for any expenses involved. You may also face a fine as refusing to comply with an enforcement notice is a criminal offence.

Advice and information for Gypsies and Travellers on eviction from your own land

Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre if you need help with legal or other issues.

Other organisations that can provide advice and assistance for members of the Gypsy and Traveller communities include:

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