PUBLISHED: 04:10, 23 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:28, 23 January 2015
Travellers will be forced to prove they are actually travelling around the country under a new Government crackdown to stop them setting up camps on green belt land.
Under new plans, to be announced by the Government next month, travelling communities will be expected to prove that they have moved for two months every year.
The new draft planning rules state that ‘for planning purposes the Government believes a traveller should be someone who travels’.
Under new plans, to be announced by the Government next month, travelling communities (pictured in Staffordshire) will be expected to prove that they have moved for two months every year and are ‘nomadic’
It comes after Eric Pickles, Communities and Local Government Secretary, was found to have ‘unlawfully discriminated’ against gipsies by using his ministerial powers to decide personally whether they should be allowed to settle on green belt land.
The new regulations mean travellers will no longer be automatically banned from setting up camp on green belt land, although they must prove they have a ‘nomadic’ lifestyle.
The draft planning rules also state that ‘travellers who have given up travelling permanently should be treated in the same way as the settled community, especially regarding sites in sensitive locations, such as in the green belt’.
Under current planning rules, councils must provide land to house traveller communities and the Housing Act 2004 also states that authorities must regularly carry out assessments of their accommodation needs.
Mr Pickles said the new regulations would allow a fairer planning system.
He told The Telegraph’s Christopher Hope: ‘The public want to see fair play in the planning system, with planning applications being decided on the basis of their effect on the environment, not who the applicant is.
‘This Government will stand firm in allowing councils to safeguard the green belt which prevents urban sprawl and stops the open countryside being covered in concrete.’
It comes after Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, was found to have ‘unlawfully discriminated’ against gipsies by using his powers to personally decide whether they should be allowed to settle on green belt land