Ministers urged to begin detailed mapping of travellers’ sites

The mapping of stopping-off places will go a long way in improving the lives of Scotland’s Gypsy/Travellers, a Green MSP has told government ministers at Holyrood.

Speaking in a government debate, John Finnie, the Green MSP for Highlands and Islands, says Scottish ministers should carry out mapping of traditional stopping off places, a move that will help prevent Gypsy/Travellers from feeling “ostracised from our cities, towns and villages”.

Mr Finnie, a champion of Gypsy/Travellers’ rights since being elected to the Scottish Parliament in 2011, said:

“Warm words about the contribution made by our Gypsy and Traveller communities are fine, but what we need is action now to make their lives better. Gypsy/Travellers can often feel ostracised from our cities, towns and villages, but if we were to carry out mapping of stopping-off places it’ll go a long way to ease tensions and bring an end to the great deal of prejudice that sadly exists towards these people.

“This work cannot be patchy and we need all 32 local authorities’ participation, so this must be overseen by government ministers. So many sites traditionally used by Gypsy/Travellers have been sealed up and we need to encourage landowners, including local authorities and other public bodies, to open up the sites again to reinforce the value that we place on the travelling lifestyle.”