The government has been accused of reinforcing "negative stereotypes" about travellers by the chairman of the Gypsy Council. Speaking on Sky News he said the new guide for councils contained no new information and accused the government of grandstanding:
It's creating tension, it's a negative thing to do. At the moment it seems like a theme. Recently we have had the Go Home campaign, then we have the bongo bongo thing going on.
It seems like open season on ethnic minorities.
Local authorities already know how to manage unauthorised encampments, they don't need the Government to tell them how to do it.
Travellers do not need more sites in the UK as these were already provided for in the local development plan, the Communities and Local Government Minister told Daybreak.
Eric Pickles dismissed accusations that his new policy, Temporary Stop Notices, exacerbated tensions with travellers by imposing unlimited fines on them for refusing to move if evicted.
It is part of a local development plan to provide sites. But that does not mean that in the same way as we would be down on a householder who decides to build on green belt, we would be down on a householder who decides to occupy public land and we are not going to treat travellers in a different way.
– Eric Pickles, Minister for Communities and Local Government
A new guide reminding local councils and land owners on how to deal with traveller encampments trespassing on someone else's land has been released by the Government.
The guide book includes advice on new Temporary Stop orders, which give councils power to tackle unauthorised caravans, backed up by potentially unlimited fines.
The Local Government and Communities department decided to release the book after 2011's Occupy movement brought into focus the difference between a peaceful protest and "the disruptive impact of the illegal occupation of land"