Gypsy / Travellers - Rights and responsibilities

There are no authorised sites in the Scottish Borders other than the commercially managed Innerleithen site. We recognise that Gypsy/Travellers are restricted as to where they can legally encamp in the region.

Our rights and responsibilities as a council

  • To seek a balance between the needs of the ‘settled community’ and needs of Gypsy/Travellers
  • To protect the local environment from abuse (i.e. litter)
  • To evict individuals who do not fulfil their responsibilities in relation to staying on unauthorised sites

Unauthorised sites - limitations of stay

When unauthorised sites emerge, we will follow the ‘good neighbour code’ which means that we will:

  • Provide information on waste disposal and other public services to assist your transit through the Scottish Borders
  • Respond to any issues you may have

Our Gypsy/Traveller Liaison Officer will:

  • Visit the site on a regular basis and make contact with you
  • Ask you about your welfare, education and health needs
  • Provide information on waste collection and the process in place for dealing with trade waste
  • Check how long you have been at the site and plan to be there
  • Inform you of concerns that local people have and discuss with you what action you can take to resolve these concerns
  • Listen to concerns you have, and take action to resolve them where possible
  • Check if there are any animal welfare concerns

Gypsy / Traveller rights and responsibilities 

  • Fair treatment by the council
  • Not to be discriminated against by the ‘settled community’ or local service providers
  • Access health, welfare and educational services without discrimination

While temporarily staying on unauthorised sites it is your responsibility to:

  • Keep groups to a reasonable size for the area occupied
  • Look after the land and respect nearby neighbours
  • Dispose of rubbish properly in bags or waste bin
  • Use public or own chemicals toilets and dispose of waste appropriately
  • No fly-tipping
  • Ensure that the encampment does not create a road or road traffic hazard
  • Park vehicles safely
  • Do not light fires
  • Keep animals under control at all times
  • Clear up all animal waste
  • Comply with trading and selling regulations
  • Keep noise levels to a minimum after 10pm

Unsuitable locations

There is a likelihood of being moved immediately because of risks to health/safety/environment from the following areas:

  • Areas with known toxic waste / areas of environmental concern
  • A site of scientific / environmental interest
  • On a public road / verge of a public road
  • A site where pollution may damage the local water supply
  • In parks, sports or recreation grounds
  • In close proximity to railway lines