Information

Gypsy/Traveller Sites in Scotland

The report presents findings from a study collating data on Gypsy/Traveller sites in Scotland.


6 Unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller encampments

6.1 This section provides an overview of unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller encampment activity across Scotland over the last three years.[12]

6.2 Unauthorised encampments are typically the result of Gypsy/Travellers stopping for a short period when travelling through or visiting an area. Encampments vary in size from small family groups (typically 1-2 vans) to larger groups of up to 20+ vans. Locations used also vary considerably, and can include open ground in rural locations or within/adjacent to towns, industrial locations, and retail or business parks.

6.3 Findings are based on data returns from local authorities, and include comparison with data previously published via the Twice-Yearly Counts of Gypsy/Travellers up to July 2009[13]. As is noted in section 1, local authority data on unauthorised encampment activity is largely based on reporting of encampments by Council officers, other agencies and local communities. As such, it is difficult to assess the extent to which data provides a comprehensive account of encampment activity. For example, anecdotal evidence indicates that local authorities are more likely to be made aware of larger encampments and/or those in more ‘visible’ locations, but that encampments in more remote rural areas may go unreported.

6.4 For the current exercise, there are also several local authority areas where data on unauthorised encampments was not available (Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dumfries & Galloway, North Lanarkshire, West Lothian). Historical data from the Twice-Yearly Count indicates the most significant gaps are the Angus, Dumfries & Galloway and North Lanarkshire areas.

Encampment activity

6.5 Local authority returns identify a total of 406 discreet locations across Scotland used for unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller encampments over the last 3 years.

6.6 These locations account for an average of 414 unauthorised encampments per year, equivalent to 1.0 encampment per location. However, encampment activity varies significantly; 67 locations (17% of the total) show an average of 2+ encampments per year, including 12 with an average of 5+ encampments per year. Available data indicates that encampments also vary considerably in size from 1 to 20 caravans or more, but average 2.1 vans per encampment.

6.7 The last Twice-Yearly Count (2009) recorded encampment activity over the previous 12 months, and identified a total of around 600 encampments over this period (more than 40% higher than the annual activity recorded by the present study). This suggests that the overall level of encampment activity may have reduced since 2009. However, it should be noted that the present study has not been able to include data for several local authority areas and as such will have under-estimated the total number of encampments across Scotland. Feedback from authorities also indicates that encampment activity can fluctuate from year to year, such that more trend information would be required to confirm a sustained decrease in encampment activity.

Figure 18: Overview of unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller encampments

Figure 18: Overview of unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller encampments

* Data not available for local authority

Figure 19: Overview of unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller encampments

 

Number of
locations
used

Average
camps
per annum

Average per
location
per annum

Average
camp
size (vans)

SCOTLAND

406

414

1.0

2.1

Aberdeen City

43

30

0.7

3.9

Aberdeenshire

30

50

1.7

2.4

Angus*

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Argyll & Bute

5

3

0.6

0.6

Clackmannanshire*

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

0

0

0

0

Dumfries & Galloway*

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Dundee**

n/a

13

0

3.8

East Ayrshire

12

13

1.1

3.9

East Dunbartonshire

8

3

0.4

n/a

East Lothian

0

0

0

0

East Renfrewshire

2

7

3.6

n/a

Edinburgh

0

0

0

0

Falkirk

23

10

0.4

3.2

Fife

54

58

1.1

n/a

Glasgow

0

0

0

0

Highland

39

38

1.0

3.3

Inverclyde

12

6

0.5

n/a

Midlothian

5

2

0.4

n/a

Moray

24

20

0.9

2.2

North Ayrshire

54

72

1.3

2.5

North Lanarkshire*

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Orkney

0

0

0

0

Perth & Kinross

34

16

0.5

4.2

Renfrewshire**

n/a

17

n/a

n/a

Scottish Borders

10

22

2.2

n/a

Shetland

0

0

0

0

South Ayrshire

27

9

0.3

3.2

South Lanarkshire

9

12

1.3

n/a

Stirling

4

2

0.4

n/a

West Dunbartonshire

11

12

1.1

6.0

West Lothian*

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

* Data not available for local authority

** Data on individual encampment locations not available

Encampment locations

6.8 Map 4 shows locations known to have been used as unauthorised encampments by Gypsy/Travellers.

6.9 It should be noted that mapping of encampments is not as precise as that for sites due to the nature of encampment locations, which often do not have a recognised address or title. However, data provided by local authorities enabled mapping for a large majority of encampment locations used by Gypsy/Travellers over the last 3 years.

6.10 This indicates that unauthorised encampments are more prevalent across some regions than others. In particular, unauthorised encampments appear to be most prevalent across the Ayrshire region (primarily North Ayrshire), Fife, Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray, and the area around and to the north of Inverness. Local authorities across these regions typically report an average of more than 30 unauthorised encampments per year, compared to an average of 15-20 across other parts of Scotland.

6.11 Mapping also indicates that encampment locations are typically in and around small towns and urban areas, with few encampments recorded in areas classified as ‘accessible rural’ or ‘remote rural’.[14] This is consistent with previous research which has identified employment and visiting family members as potentially significant factors in Gypsy/Traveller travel patterns, and access to amenities as influencing choice of encampment location.[15] However, feedback also indicates that the limited number of rural encampments recorded by local authorities may be in part due to these being less visible to landowners and local communities, and thus less likely to be reported.

Map 4: Unauthorised Gypsy/Traveller encampments

Contact

Email: Chief.Planner@gov.scot

Back to top