No home to go but the road
Dale Farm located in Essex was the largest Irish Travellers community in Britain. On the 19th October 2011 after ten years battle with Basildon council, 86 families were evicted leaving around 400 people homeless.
Riot police broke into Dale Farm with violent clashes between them and travellers' supporters. Families were force to leave their land and their homes were destroyed by the bailiffs Constant & Co. leaving behind a huge toxic wasteland.
Irish travellers had lived at Dale Farm since 1980s. After 1994 the English government released local authorities from the duty to provide alternative sites for travellers, forcing them to look for permanent places to settle elsewhere. Irish Traveller families bought the land at Dale Farm leaving behind a nomadic and traditional way of life.
Over the years travellers cleared the Dale Farm site, moving in their caravans. Their children attended the local schools and a postal address facilitated their daily life and local integration. Other traveller families joined the site having being evicted from illegal sites.
After a ten year battle with Basildon Council, in May 2011 the High Court ruled in favour of the council's decision to evict the travellers at a cost of £18 million. Activists and international human rights organisations started a campaign to support the travellers.
With nowhere else to go, in October 2013 around 30 of the evicted families were living only 100 yards away from the caravan site. Children’s living conditions were very poor facing a hard winter with inadequate access to water and toilet facilities. Electricity was supplied by generators with expensive fuel.
Other families travelled around England searching for new pitches to settle in facing more enforcement notices. Lack of a permanent home has a impact more heavily on children’s education and the elderly. Families found themselves separated from their culture and traditions.