The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has given its opinion that ‘bargee travellers’ are covered by Section 225 of the Housing Act 2004 which defines who is a traveller.
The definition is needed because local authorities are required to assess the needs of travellers in their jurisdiction. The crucial part when deciding who is a traveller is the element of nomadism. This means that local authorities have a statutory obligation to investigate travellers’ needs and this should lead to provision of transit moorings like transit pitches for travellers who live in caravans.
It should be possible to use this ruling to argue that local authorities should be providing, or working with BW to ensure the adequate provision of 14-day moorings – the bargee traveller’s equivalent of a transit site – rather than acting with BW on local mooring strategy groups to reduce the amount of 14-day mooring space.
The DCLG responded to a letter from Nick Brown of the Bargee Traveller’s Assocation, a group of boaters formed to put pressure on Reading Council to provide mooring along the Thames in Reading.