A Senedd report into the provision of sites for Gypsy, Roma and Travellers accuses the Welsh Government and local authorities of 'failing Traveller communities'.

The Senedd's Local Government and Housing Committee has today published a report on the provision of sites for Gypsy, Roma and Travellers - it calls for immediate action and reports "wide-ranging failures" by both the Welsh Government and local authorities.

The report describes how many Traveller sites are over-subscribed, with charity Gypsies and Travellers Wales telling the committee how some individuals have been on the waiting list for a local authority plot for over 20 years.

Additionally, many sites are poorly maintaned, and problems reported to councils taking a long time to repair.

READ MORE: Rats, flies, noise and odour - the scandal of authorised Traveller sites in Wales

The Committee heard evidence of shared facilities which had not been refurbished in decades, a lack of facilities such as play areas for children, blocked drains, rat infestations and mouldy bathrooms.

The National Wales: A home on the Rover Way Travellers' site in Cardiff .A home on the Rover Way Travellers' site in Cardiff .

The report also describes how the introduction of the UK Government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 - which makes unauthorised encampments a criminal offence - could have a disproportionate impact on the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities given the lack of authorised sites in Wales.

READ MORE: Could Police and Crime Bill mean ‘cultural genocide’ for Roma communities?

It blames a "lack of political will" as being the reason for the lack of adequate sites for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities and Wales, and that "widespread racism and prejudice - including from councillors – was often a determining factor."

In July Caerphilly County Borough Council received a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment which stated there was a need for 11 mobile home sites in the area.

Independent councillor Bob Owen questioned if the authority should provide sites for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, saying: “We could collect rubbish and have cleaner sites than if we leave them to their own devices – is there an attraction to provide sites?”

He added: “It’s always a bit controversial when we’re talking about Travellers, but clearly it is a worry when it’s in various wards, but a lot of the time they just move on.”

Academic, Martin Gallagher, giving evidence to the Committee, said: “I've delivered training to different political parties that are on these planning boards, and they've flat out told me to my face directly that they couldn't support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people in any campaigns, because they would lose their voters.”

This was supported by Travelling Ahead, an organisation supporting nomadic people, who told the Committee that “some of the things that have gone on locally and regionally would not be acceptable if that was about any other group, or any other group of citizens or any other ethnic minority.”

The National Wales: The site on Rover Way in Cardiff.The site on Rover Way in Cardiff.

Last month The National reported on the appalling state of authorised Traveller sites in Wales - revealing how many people's homes are unsuitable for families and close to heavy industry.

Our report found that of the authorised 'socially rented' Traveller sites in Wales, Scotland and England, 39 per cent were within 50 metres of motorways, A roads and railway lines, refuse and recycling plants, industrial estates, sewage works, rivers, canals or the sea, with over half (54 per cent) being within 100 metres.

The Senedd report also said that, "There seems to be little accountability for failure to deliver on statutory duties, or serious attempts at joined-up working between local authorities."

John Griffiths MS, Chair of the Local Government and Housing Committee, said: “The situation facing Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in Wales is very concerning and the Committee is united on what the Welsh Government and local authorities need to do next.

READ MORE: Council will not designate sites for Gypsy and Traveller families, despite need

“Many sites are in completely inappropriate areas next to A-roads with uneven paths and blocked drains. Some people are stuck on multiple year waiting lists with no end in sight.

“The Welsh Government must make sure that local authorities have the resources to tackle these issues, but they must also hold them to account when things do not improve. It is clear that anti-Traveller prejudice on a local level, and throughout society, is still quite prevalent and that tackling this should be a priority.

“The Committee is urging both the Welsh Government and local authorities to act on our recommendations with urgency or members of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities will continue to be treated like second class citizens in Wales.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We will continue to work closely with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities to address the concerns raised and take action if a local housing authority has failed to comply with their responsibility to find suitable accommodation. We will consider the report in detail and the recommendations made.”

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