[A caravan site in Port William has been told to remove a "no travellers" rule]

Port William caravan park's 'no travellers' rule removed

A "no travellers" rule has been removed from a caravan park after an equality body intervened.

It appeared on the website and leaflets at the Kings Green Caravan Park in Port William, Dumfries and Galloway. It was reported to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) by David Donaldson, a Scottish traveller activist in December 2018. Site operators Port William Community Association were contacted and immediately agreed to remove the rule.

The EHRC informed them that the rule contravened the Equality Act 2010. Its head of legal in Scotland, Lynn Welsh, 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." She said that travellers still faced "many forms of discrimination and social exclusion".

 site operators She added: "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." 

'Horrible feeling'

Mr Donaldson said he was "very happy" to hear the rule had 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," he said. "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 makes it harder for us to access services when on the road." He also urged anyone seeing discriminatory signs or policies to report them.

Shaun Dodds, chairman of Port William Community Association, said: "Port William Community Association are sorry for any distress or hurt to any individual parties who use the Kings Green Caravan Park in the past or in the future and have taken the precaution of removing the signage from the website and the welcome pack."

Action plan

Equalities Minister Christina McKelvie said: "There is no place for racism or discrimination in Scotland so we welcome this action from the EHRC.  We will soon publish a new Gypsy/travellers action plan to address the issues faced in this community. This will set out the steps we will take to tackle discrimination against our Gypsy/traveller communities and to make improvements in key areas of health, education and accommodation."  21 February 2019



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