Local development plans – defining Gypsies and Travellers: consultation

A consultation on a proposed definition of ‘Gypsies and Travellers’ for the purpose of local development plan regulations on evidence reports.

Example Definitions of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK

House of Commons Library – Gypsies and Travellers (2019)

"The term 'Gypsies and Travellers' is difficult to define as it does not constitute a single, homogenous group, but encompasses a range of groups with different histories, cultures and beliefs including: Romany Gypsies, Welsh Gypsies, Scottish Gypsy Travellers and Irish Travellers. There are also Traveller groups which are generally regarded as 'cultural' rather than 'ethnic' Travellers. These include 'New' (Age) Travellers and occupational travellers, such as showmen and waterway travellers."

House of Commons, Women and Equalities Committee - Tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities (2019)

"The term Gypsy, Roma and Traveller has been used by policy-makers and researchers to describe a range of ethnic groups or those with nomadic ways of life who are not from a specific ethnicity. In the UK, it is common to differentiate between Gypsies (including English Gypsies, Scottish Gypsy/Travellers, Welsh Gypsies and other Romany people), Irish Travellers, who have specific Irish roots, and Roma, understood to be more recent migrants from Central and Eastern Europe. In continental Europe, however, all groups with nomadic histories are categorised as "Roma", a much broader term that, while it includes Gypsies and Irish Travellers, is not the way in which most British communities would identify themselves."

"The term Traveller can also encompass groups that travel, including, but not limited to, New Travellers, Boaters, Bargees and Showpeople. While these communities share many of the barriers faced by people who are ethnically Gypsy, Roma and Irish Traveller, covering all these groups in a single inquiry would not do justice to their needs. Our hope is that the recommendations in this report will benefit not only those that are in the three groups we have focussed on but everyone who travels or is not a part of the settled community.

We asked many members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities how they preferred to describe themselves. While some find the term "Gypsy" to be offensive, many stakeholders and witnesses were proud to associate themselves with this term and so we have decided that it is right and proper to use it, where appropriate, throughout the report. We also heard many other terms used to refer to the Communities that are completely unacceptable and hate speech will be explored in Chapter 6 of this report.

Gypsies and some Traveller ethnicities have been recognised in law as being ethnic groups protected against discrimination by the Equality Act 2010.1 Others, such as New Travellers, have either been deemed not to be protected or have not tested their rights in court. Migrant Roma are protected both by virtue of their ethnicities and their national identities."

Aberdeenshire Gypsy/Traveller Site Provision Strategy 2021-2026 –

"Gypsy/Travellers have been in Scotland for many centuries and still retain their own cultures and customs. The term 'Gypsy/Traveller' refers to distinct groups - such as Romany Gypsies, Scottish and Irish Travellers - who regard the travelling lifestyle as being part of their ethnic identity. There are also other types of Traveller, such as Occupational Travellers, Show-people and New Age Travellers: distinct groups who do not regard themselves as Gypsy/Travellers and do not receive protection under equalities legislation."

Using the Place Standard tool to assess the quality of Gypsy/Traveller sites – November 2019

"Gypsy/Traveller communities are recognised as having a long and proud history and have made, and continue to make, a significant contribution to Scotland. Unfortunately, Gypsy/Travellers also face many challenges and barriers to accessing services, and participating in society, in ways that most people take for granted. Gypsy/Travellers are ethnic groups protected against discrimination by the Equality Act 2010 and that Act also imposes a duty on listed public authorities, including local authorities, to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. The Scottish Government has noted however that Gypsy/Traveller communities continue to be among the most disenfranchised and discriminated against in Scotland. They have nevertheless made efforts to prescribe interim guidance on how design considerations and placemaking can be realistically achieved on Gypsy/Traveller sites."

Educational Institute of Scotland– Gypsy and Travellers (2020)

"There is no one simple definition of Gypsy/Traveller. There are minority ethnic, professional, trade, craft and business communities which travel, each with a rich history, culture, religion, dialect or language."


The gov.scot website sets out in its policy actions 'The term 'Gypsy/Travellers' refers to distinct groups – such as Roma, Romany Gypsies, Scottish and Irish Travellers – who consider the travelling lifestyle part of their ethnic identity.'


Email: LDPRegsandGuidance@gov.scot

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