'No Travellers' rule no more

Published: 21 Feb 2019

We have announced the removal of a racially discriminatory 'no Travellers' rule from a caravan park in Dumfries, Scotland.

The rule was published on the website of Kings Green Caravan Park in Port William, Galloway, and on leaflets at the site. It said: 'No trading/traders or Travellers allowed on site'.

The rule was reported to us by David Donaldson, a young Scottish Gypsy/Traveller activist, in December 2018.

We contacted the site owners, Port William Community Association, requiring them to remove the 'no Travellers' rule from the terms and conditions and leaflets as it does not comply with the Equality Act 2010.

Commenting on the case Lynn Welsh, our Head of Legal in Scotland, said:

'We are pleased Port William Community Association accepted that the rule is discriminatory and agreed immediately to remove it. This type of rule has been unlawful since 1968, so there really is no excuse for it appearing these days.

'Part of the reason for the introduction of the 1968 Race Relations Act was to remove “No Blacks, no Irish, no dogs” signs that were often displayed in bed and breakfasts, guest houses and pubs at the time. These days we really only see them in relation to Gypsy/Travellers. 

'We know that Scottish Gypsy/Travellers face many forms of discrimination and social exclusion. They have the poorest health of any ethnic minority group in Scotland, and have high levels of poverty and amongst the lowest levels of educational attainment.

'This rule just acts as a reminder to the community that there are still too many places in Scotland where they are simply not welcome.

'Even if the owners didn’t actively discriminate against Travellers wanting to use the site, reading this rule would have put off many from even trying.

'We’d encourage anyone who sees a policy like this to report it immediately to us.'

David Donaldson who reported it to us said:

'I am very happy to hear that the "no Travellers" rule has been removed. To be told that you are not welcome based solely on your ethnicity is a horrible feeling, but sadly one that Travellers and Gypsies know all too well. 

'As a young Traveller growing up in Scotland my family and I have been barred from entering caravan sites on many occasions. This only increases the inequalities we face and make it harder for us to access services when on the road.

'This behaviour is discrimination based on racism and stereotype. We need to see it change and I’m delighted to see the Commission working with my community to do this.

'For all those out there who have seen discriminatory signs or policies like this one, I would urge you to take action and help end the "last acceptable racism" my community face.'

Notes to editors

1. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the National Equality Body (NEB) for Scotland, England and Wales.

We work to eliminate discrimination and promote equality across the nine protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.

We are an 'A Status' National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and share our mandate to promote and protect human rights in Scotland with the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC).

2. The rule was published in the terms and conditions on the caravan park’s website and in printed material at the site.

Rules that restrict access to goods, facilities and services on the basis of race are unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

We have issued guidance on how to prevent discrimination in the provision of services to the public.

3. In December 2017 Kaliani Lyle, the Scottish government's independent adviser on race equality in Scotland, called for the government to: 'Adopt a "zero tolerance" approach to discrimination against Gypsy/Travellers'.

4. The Scottish government is due to publish its Gypsy/Traveller strategy aimed at ending discrimination against them and supporting their economic and social inclusion in the Spring.

Press contact details

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