The Travellers' School Charity
freedom and choice through education
 
 
 
 

 

Campaigns

Last update: 02-09-2005


British Waterways
are planing on increasing licences for continuous cruisers by £800 per year. Many can't afford this and are worried about losing their homes
for more information goto: http://www.britishwaterways.co.uk/images/Continuous_Cruiser_Declaration-July_05.pdf


Meadowlands 1

Get off  YOUR  land !!!!

Travellers dug in, with ditches and barricades, ready to resist eviction from their own caravan park - Meadowlands - on Monday morning 26-01-2004, starting 8 am. The operation was carried out by Chelmsford Borough Council, WITHOUT a court order or Injunction.

Contractors had been hired to clear and bulldoze the entire caravan park - because it's on greenbelt land.

Following the eviction 2 homes that had been removed from the site and were being guarded by security mysteriously went up in flames. The owners of the homes had been placed in bed and breakfast accommodation by the authorities once they had been evicted from the site.

Quite a few people were injured in the eviction including children. The video of the eviction is horrendous and its unbelievable that this sort of thing happens in this country.

You wont see these images in the main stream media who are quite happy to demonise the Travellers. The way this little girl was treated would be regarded by some as child abuse.

Meadowlands 2 Meadowlands 3 Meadowlands 4
This boy was roughly handled as well when he was dragged out of the trailer by the bailiffs leaving him in tears and clutching his knee
Meadowlands 5 Meadowlands 6 Meadowlands 7
What a nice home, lets rip it down!
Meadowlands 8 Meadowlands 9 Meadowlands 10
Meadowlands 11 Meadowlands 12 Meadowlands 13
A girl decides she wants to paint a Policeman Meadowlands 14

British Waterways

Boat dwellers and particularly those with families are struggling to remain ‘afloat’ in their chosen lifestyle due to the ever increasing impingements of the Moorings Code and the ultimate threat of having one’s home lifted out of the canal by a crane if they don’t comply with what at this stage are still only guidelines.

Canal boatRecently The Trial Moorings Code after a period of ‘consultation’ are proposing that ‘to-ing’ and ‘fro-ing’ within the same geographical area is to be ‘ruled out’. As in the case of Fred below it would appear that the British Waterways (BW) are attempting to enforce boat dwellers to pay for home moorings to contribute to the costs of maintaining the waterways. As has been seen in some areas these moorings are not subject to any legislation or limits and the price of the mooring could rise drastically as in the case of the Oxford area where many people have been forced to sell their boats because they can’t afford to keep paying their mooring prices. What was once a solution to affordable housing for low income families and students trying to improve their own conditions of life in a sustainable and independent way is now becoming a niche for tourism and leisure boating monopolies. This is pandering to the Western mould where tourism makes up a vast proportion of the GNP on the back of a World exploitation trade disguised by brand name hype and media control.

Here is the Example quoted by BW in their April 2003 ‘Playing it Fair at Temporary/Visitor Moorings

Fred lives on his narrow boat and his children go to school in Uxbridge. He is registered as a continuous cruiser and does not pay for a mooring.

He has been tied up to the towpath on the Grand Union Canal at Uxbridge for well over 14 days. After being reminded about the Moorings Code, he begins to move more frequently and over the next 3 months travels between several different moorings. The furthest North that he reaches is Harefield, and in the other direction, he reaches Southall. Although Fred travelled a total of 29 lock-miles over the period, he has only 13 different lock miles and this is a long way short of the 120 needed to comply with the Code.

Alternative cruising patterns, which would give Fred, the necessary 120 different lock-miles over the three-month period might be;

  • Uxbridge to Wolverhampton (near Milton Keynes) and back – a total of 120 different lock-miles
  • Uxbridge via the Regents Canal to Stepney (37 lock-miles); Stepney-Uxbridge (no new lock-miles); Uxbridge- Marsworth (83 lock-miles)

Of course, Fred might find it extremely difficult to achieve either of these patterns and ensure that his children still get to school each day! This would suggest that he should attempt to find a proper home mooring for his boat. And if this isn’t possible, maybe he needs to reconsider whether living afloat without a permanent mooring is a practical option.

Where would the BW like to see Fred move to? Where is he likely to be able to afford to move to? A city flat, or high-rise block perhaps. Like Los Angeles, parts of London and other British Cities now belong to the Third World. The violence and menace are not the same, but the roots of them are. ‘Poverty’, writes Peter Townsend, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Bristol University, ‘is not something people impose on themselves for want of effort and community organisation. It is constructed by devisive and discriminatory laws, inflexible organisations, acquisitive ideologies of wealth, a deeply-rooted class system and policies which serve privilege in the short term and destroy society in the long term’ (New Statesman and Society, Sept.1996).

Is it not possible to remember that under the United Nations Rights of the Child, Fred and his children have the right to a home without the fear of persecution, are their rights to education, health and family life less important than the financial interests of cruising companies and private sector mooring operators? It would be stating the obvious to say so but nevertheless a solution must found, that actually encompasses the needs of ALL, the Code will be at this ‘guidelines’ stage until March 2004 so continual pressure from all who can should be applied to give families aflote the chance to stay there and appreciate the benefits it contributes to their lives. Please contact the British Waterways,

Middle Warehouse, Castle Quay, Manchester, M15 4NJ. 0161 8195847 enquiries.spring@britishwaterways.co.uk

Feedback and submissions regarding the trial Moorings Code should be sent to:
British Waterways by 31st October 2003
Moorings Code Consultation
British Waterways Customer Service Centre, Willow Grange, Church Road, Watford, WD17 4QA
Fax: 01923 201300


Woodside - The eviction at Woodside 4th November 2002

Woodside evictionThe first thing the bailiffs had to deal with was a 14-foot high barricade across the entrance. This slowed them down for a bit. Having removed the barricade and the people on top they preceded toward the plots that still had Travellers on them.

The way they dealt with the travellers was quite an eye-opener. One of the travellers children had crawled under one of the tourers and was refusing to come out; This didn’t stop the bailiffs, who proceeded to lower the tourer’s legs thus lowering the tourer onto the child, who at this point was screaming. Had cameras, and people demanding that the bailiffs stop, not been present then the child would probably have been seriously injured. Representatives of the Travellers School Charity who went to see how the authorities treated the Gypsies were shocked to see such disregard to Health and Safety and wondered how often this sort of eviction happened. Maybe the story of a 3-year-old child being sprayed with CS gas at an eviction 2 years ago are true?

 
There was no apparent assessment of the children’s needs by the local Authority even though some of the children were at local schools.

 
 
 

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