‘Discriminatory’ rule banning Travellers from caravan park removed

A rule that banned Travellers from using a caravan park has been lifted after it was accepted to be disciminatory.

The rule, published on leaflets and a website for Kings Green Caravan Park in Port William, Galloway, read: “No trading/ traders or Travellers allowed on site”.

In December last year, it was reported by David Donaldson, a young Scottish Gypsy/Traveller activist to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The equality body for Scotland contacted the owners of the site, Port William Community Association, asking them to remove the “no Traveller” rule, indicating that it contravenes the UK Government’s Equality Act 2010.

Lynn Welsh, EHRC Scotland, said: “We are pleased Port William Community Association accepted that the rule is discriminatory and agreed immediately to remove it.

“This type of rule has been unlawful since 1968 so there really is no excuse for it appearing these days.

“Part of the reason for the introduction of the 1968 Race Relations Act was to remove ‘No Blacks, no Irish, no dogs’ signs that were often displayed in B&Bs, guest houses and pubs at the time. These days we really only see them in relation to Gypsy/Travellers.

“We know that Scottish Gypsy/Travellers face many forms of discrimination and social exclusion.

“They have the poorest health of any ethnic minority group in Scotland, and have high levels of poverty and amongst the lowest levels of educational attainment.

“This rule just acts as a reminder to the community that there are still too many places in Scotland where they are simply not welcome.

“Even if the owners didn’t actively discriminate against Travellers wanting to use the site, reading this rule would have put off many from even trying.

“We’d encourage anyone who sees a policy like this to report it immediately to us”.

David Donaldson who reported the rule to the EHRC said: “I am very happy to hear that the ‘no Travellers’ rule has been removed.

“To be told that you are not welcome based solely on your ethnicity is a horrible feeling, but sadly one that Travellers and Gypsies know all too well.

“As a young Traveller growing up in Scotland, my family and I have been barred from entering caravan sites on many occasions. This only increases the inequalities we face and make it harder for us to access services when on the road.

“This behaviour is discrimination based on racism and stereotype, we need to see it change and I’m delighted to see the commission working with my community to do this.

“For all those out there who have seen discriminatory signs or policies like this one, I would urge you to take action and help end the ‘last acceptable racism’ my community face.”

The Scottish Government is due to publish its Gypsy /Traveller strategy aimed at ending discrimination and supporting economic and social inclusion in Spring this year.

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