Basildon: New Action Against Travellers

A second operation to evict travellers displaced by the clearance of Europe's largest illegal site, in Essex, will be carried out.

Basildon Council members last night (Tuesday 18th) voted for "direct action" to remove travellers living on the roadside at Oak Lane, alongside Dale Farm.

The action will not be taken until a judicial review lodged by travellers over earlier enforcement notices is resolved.

Tony Ball, leader of the council, said: "Whilst I cannot comment directly on the committee decision, it is clearly in line with our determination to enforce and uphold the law but tempered with the need to make sensible and pragmatic decisions based on the situation."

Bailiffs and police removed travellers living on Dale Farm, a six-acre former scrapyard, without permission in a £7 million operation last October.

There were violent scenes as protesters and travellers resisted the clearance and chained themselves to structures behind a barricade.

Since then many of those who had lived on Dale Farm have moved to Oak Lane, a legal site, exceeding its authorised capacity.

Mary Flynn, a former Dale Farm resident, said: "There are more travellers than there are sites, so where do they expect us to live? It's so hard to tell my children that we're never going to get to go home."

Members of the Traveller Solidarity movement said 83 families were made homeless by the operation.

Permission was recently granted for a new, smaller travellers site at nearby Gardiners Way and it is thought some of the most needy families from Dale Farm could move there.