Local development plan evidence report - defining Gypsies and Travellers: consultation

Closed 15 Feb 2023

Opened 21 Dec 2022

Feedback updated 24 Mar 2023

We asked

We asked for views on the Scottish Government’s proposed definition of ‘Gypsies and Travellers’ for the purposes of section 16B of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as amended by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019. This would be provided in Local Development Planning Regulations that will overall support the implementation of the future local development plan system, a system which manages the development and use of land in the long term public interest.

We asked 7 consultation questions. These sought views on our proposed definition of ‘Gypsies and Travellers’, how councils can better involve the Gypsy and Traveller communities in planning consultations and processes, and the impact this (or any) definition would have in businesses and protected characteristics (to inform the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and Equalities Impact Assessment).  We asked for responses by 15 February 2023, allowing 8 weeks for comments.

As part of this consultation, we also conducted four in-person engagement events with Travelling community members and have been considering the feedback from these events alongside the online responses.

You said

You provided us with 41 responses to our consultation questions. These included responses from 23 organisations and 17 individuals. Respondents included local authorities, housing services, Gypsy/Traveller representative bodies, Travelling Showpeople organisations, third sector organisations and other professional bodies, as well as communities and individuals.

Respondents were generally supportive a definition of ‘Gypsies and Travellers’ to provide clarity on the Evidence Report consultation stage of the local development plan. Key recurring issues with our proposed definition included:

  • The need to recognise ethnic Gypsy/Travellers as a distinct category to Travelling Showpeople
  • The acknowledgement that Travellers stop travelling for various reasons that cannot be pinpointed exactly and thus cannot be listed in one definition
  • The need to ensure that the definition is not so broad that it includes non-travelling people, as the proposed definition included ‘persons who require the provision of land for temporary or permanent living’ and this is not restricted to Gypsies and Travellers

We did

We have taken account of the responses which have informed the final definition to be included in Development Planning regulations, laid in Parliament on the 24th March 2023.  

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The Scottish Government wants to ensure planning authorities properly involve the Gypsy/Traveller community in planning the future of their places. The Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 therefore requires planning authorities to seek the views of Gypsies and Travellers in preparing Evidence Report for their Local Development Plans (LDPs) and to include a summary of the action taken by planning authorities to meet accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers.

 A previous consultation in late 2021/early 2022 on Local Development Plan regulations and guidance proposed to hold a separate consultation on the definition of Gypsies and Travellers for the above purposes, to enable targeted involvement of the community and an explanation of the specific matters associated with this requirement. 

We are now seeking views on a proposed definition of ‘Gypsies and Travellers’ for the specific purposes of the planning legislation. 

We will take account of views received to inform the drafting of secondary legislation, which provides the legal framework for preparing Local Development Plans (LDPs). We want to engage with members of the Gypsy/Traveller community and other travelling communities.  We want to hear from those working closely with them, third sector organisations/representative bodies of the Gypsy/Traveller community and local authorities.

Read the consultation paper 

Why your views matter

We want to establish the most appropriate definition of ‘Gypsies and Travellers’.  This is needed to enable planning authorities implementing the legislation to have a better understanding of who the Gypsy/Traveller community are and how their needs can be met. We want to hear views on our proposed definition, any issues and what changes would make it better.

Input to this consultation will inform the definition for planning purposes.  The definition is relevant to the way planning authorities plan for the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers. It will enable the community to voice their needs to planning authorities and promote relationships with the community going forward.

The engagement will help to fulfil the requirements of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019. Responses will be published along with final impact assessments.

*Please contact us if further time is needed to complete your response*


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