Wales

Concern over Gypsy and traveller site provision in Wales

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Media captionBethan Wyn Jones: 'What's needed is political will'

Welsh ministers may have to force councils to provide better facilities for Gypsies and travellers because of a lack of progress, a charity has warned.

The comments from Gypsies and Travellers Wales comes as one group in Newport was asked to move on this week after camping without permission.

The Welsh Government said the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 placed a duty on councils to meet accommodation needs.

Council leaders said they would develop "appropriate sites where possible".

Bethan Wyn Jones from Gypsy and Travellers Wales said "political will" was needed to make changes happen.

She said unauthorised encampments would continue "where there isn't an adequate supply of residential site-based accommodation and where there isn't a network of transit sites or stopping places to facilitate the travelling way of life".

Image caption Travellers have moved on to private land in Newport

Welsh Government figures published earlier this year showed five out of 370 residential pitches provided by councils were vacant in January; one in Gwynedd, one in Pembrokeshire and three in Torfaen.

And only one transit site - providing temporary accommodation land in Torfaen - was available across the whole of Wales.

A Welsh Local Government Association spokesman said: "Under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 local councils have a duty to complete accommodation assessments to establish the level of Gypsy and traveller accommodation needs in their local area.

"Every local council in Wales has now completed a detailed assessment of local needs and submitted this to the Welsh Government for scrutiny.

"Local councils will now continue to work closely with Gypsy and traveller households to develop appropriate sites where possible, and to ensure they maintain a clear understanding of local accommodation needs."

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