Casebook: Court case - Gypsy eviction endorsed due to health threat

The High Court has upheld Essex County Council's decision to seek the removal of Gypsy families occupying a former brewery in its ownership, with a judge agreeing that their health was at risk if they stayed.

The site lay next to a scrapyard and an unfenced canal. Toxic gases were rising from the ground and there was a risk that a nearby building site contained asbestos. The county council had secured permission to evict them, arguing that the group's lives and health were at risk. Mr Justice Bell decided that the authority had acted appropriately in seeking to take possession. Even if this led to the families living by the roadside, he held, this would be preferable to remaining on the land.

McDonagh v Essex County Council; Date: 31 October 2005; Ref: CO/7048/2005.

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