Fenland shows the way with travellers

Fenland Council has been highlighted as a leading authority in tackling the sensitive issues surrounding travellers.

Fenland District Council has been highlighted as a leading authority in tackling the sensitive issues surrounding travellers.

Their work has impressed the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) so much that it is sending a team to learn more from the council in the hope that other authorities will follow suit.

The CRE is currently compiling a best practice guidance on traveller issues for circulation to local authorities across the country.

And Fenland is being held up as an example of how to address the many complex issues involving travellers.

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Fenland has one of the highest populations of travellers and has to work daily with them on issues from managing sites, to dealing with illegal encampments.

A spokesman for the council said: "For many years Fenland has built a reputation for dealing firmly and honestly with travellers in the district and this has now been recognised by the CRE, which is sending a team to look

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at how the council has achieved a success, where other authorities are consistently failing.

"Members of the CRE will be visiting in early February to talk to travellers living on sites in Fenland."

The CRE representatives will also meet the chief executive and officers who are designated to work with the travellers in Fenland.

Kit Owen, portfolio holder with a responsibility for travellers, said: "We have for many years worked closely with the travelling community to ensure that we meet

their needs and deal effectively with any illegal occupations.

"We have found that by being firm, fair, honest and consistent, we have won the respect of the travellers, and this key element is maintaining an on-going positive relationship between the council and travellers.

"It has also meant that we have been able to avoid the costly and combative situations that have arisen in many parts of the country."

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