The July ‘caravan count’ statistics have just been published by the government. The twice is yearly count is unreliable, with inconsistent approaches from different Local Authorities, Gypsies and Travellers living on farms and camp sites not being counted etc., but it remains the main source of information about Gypsy and Traveller populations in England.
July’s count shows an increase of 400 caravans with 18,600 caravans compared to 18,200 the previous year.
78 per cent of caravans were on authorised sites. Of these 6,600 were on socially-rented sites operated by councils and housing associations, a drop of 200 on the previous year, while 8,000 were on privately funded sites, an increase of 300. The number of caravans on unauthorised developments on land owned by Gypsies and Travellers (i.e. without planning permission) decreased by 200, while the number of unauthorised encampments on land not owned by Gypsies and Travellers increased by 600.
The South West has a highest proportion of unauthorised sites in England. Across the region just 2 new ‘affordable residential pitches’ were created in the last year (in Gloucestershire).