New guidance for managing unauthorised Traveller camps has been slammed as not worth the paper it’s written on.
The Scottish Government document includes plans for an early warning system allowing councils to track the movement of camps.
Local authorities would keep watch over unauthorised encampments and share information about their movements to neighbouring regions.
But North-east Conservative MSP Peter Chapman said the Scottish Government should go back to the drawing board.
He said: “While it is good to see the SNP finally publish their updated guidance on Travellers’ sites, it still fails to deal with the key issues.
“Police Scotland have said they do not have the necessary powers to deal with more than 60 incidents of unauthorised sites locally and this guidance does nothing to change that.
“Councillors who have worked hard here in the North-east – where the problem is far greater than in the rest of Scotland – to establish authorised sites will be wondering why they bothered as they barely gain a mention from the SNP Government here.
“If the SNP thinks this is sufficient to deal with tensions between settled and travelling communities they need to go back to the drawing board.”
A copy of the guidance was due to be sent to local authorities yesterday.
Aberdeen City Council regeneration spokesman Ross Grant, Labour, accused the Scottish Government of passing the buck.
Cllr Grant added: “What is required is a bylaw to help us deal with Travellers acting illegally. Once again we call on the Scottish Government to give us the bylaw to deal with this problem that costs the tax payers of Aberdeen a small fortune each year.”
But Local Government Minister Kevin Stewart, SNP Aberdeen Central MSP, said there was an emphasis on respect and responsibility, with advice on how to minimise disruption.
He said: “Travellers have a right to their traditional way of life, but that right must be exercised responsibly and balanced against the rights of the wider community.
“This revised guidance supports that approach.”