Page last updated at 10:03 GMT, Monday, 19 January 2009

Work needed to tackle prejudice

Caravan: Pic Travellers education service
Permanent and transit sites must be provided by councils

More must be done to tackle the prejudice and racism which is still directed at the travelling community, according to a local expert in Devon.

Dr Zoe James from the University of Plymouth said tensions could be reduced by helping Gypsies and travellers become a bigger part of communities.

Plymouth City Council is considering three possible locations for new sites.

Meanwhile, Torridge councillors are due to discuss plans to put a travellers site near the hamlet of Derriton.

No plans have been submitted yet, but local campaigners are opposing such a move.

'Appalling racism'

The district council said they had been investigating whether the former council depot could house some permanent pitches and would discuss the proposals at a meeting on Monday evening.

Dr James, who has spent more than a decade researching and working with groups of Gypsies and travellers, was involved in the survey which was carried out on behalf of our local councils to work out how many pitches and sites were needed.

She said some of the examples of racism and prejudice she had seen were appalling and would not be tolerated if they were connected with other diverse groups.

The government has told councils they have a legal duty to provide both permanent and transit sites for gypsies and travellers.

The three sites being considered in Plymouth are in Efford, Plympton and St Budeaux.

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