The government’s policy on planning applications made by gypsies and travellers spearheaded by Eric Pickles shows the community is still treated as “toxic waste”, it is claimed.

Chairman of the Gypsy Council, Joseph P Jones, was reacting to a ruling last week by the High Court which found the Communities Secretary’s Department had unlawfully discriminated against a racial group by calling in high levels of applications relating to green belt land from travellers.

This resulted in a larger number of applications being rejected than if they had been dealt by local planning officials.

But the Brentwood and Ongar MP said the government amended planning policy on traveller sites to “increase protection” of the green belt but denied intentional discrimination.

However, Mr Jones highlighted previous government policy of creating new towns on green belt land.

He told the Guardian: “No matter what or who, makes policy, it will fail at local level.

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“Gypsies, Roma and travellers will still be greeted as toxic waste.

“Mr Pickles has succumbed to the peer pressures of John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay, and other local MPs and councillors who feel it is OK to dogmatise and vilify a whole nation of people.”

“We have been constantly pushed out on the periphery of society, through the failures those in local political positions to identify and provide accommodation.

“This is not new, ever since the Caravans Sites Act of 1960 the Gypsy/Traveller population have constantly seen the goal posts being moved, heard those in power, saying this is not the right place for your type.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles has been aacused of being brainwashed over applications for traveller sites on the green belt

“But we never seem to get any directions to a place that is.”

When asked if he believed Pickles intentionally discriminated against his community, Mr Jones said: “Pickles is not a racist in that sense.

“But he is institutionally, politically, brainwashed by those who have those tendencies in local governments.

“Let's not forget, before 1956, there was no Basildon New Town or Milton Keynes or New Ash Green.

“These towns were built for the total strangers of the London overflow, on the open countryside or green belt.

“But I'm only Gypsy, what would I know.”