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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 16:01 GMT
Travellers Law
Travellers site in Eton
BBC Radio 4's Law in Action was broadcast on Friday, 19 November 2004 at 1600 GMT.

Over the past week there have been a number of news reports alleging that the UKs gypsy community is increasingly finding ways to exploit planning law.

For example: they buy land, build a settlement without consent of the local authorities, and then apply for planning permission retrospectively. If turned down, they then contest the decision on appeal, an often lengthy process, which allows them to remain on the land until the courts come to a decision.

Critics have said this is simple exploitation of planning procedures by the travellers in order to get their own way.

The gypsies have made it clear that what they are doing is not illegal, and the reason they have taken such action is because of prejudicial decisions which rarely sees them granted planning permission if they apply in advance.

Law in Action reports on the legal changes that are said to be the cause behind this rise in planning disputes.

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