Dale Farm Traveller site in Essex was started in the 70's. It's now the largest Irish Traveller site in the UK and as the site has grown so has local opposition. Today Basildon Council have issued a notice of eviction but the Travellers say they will not leave without a fight.
Helen Mark looks beyond the headlines to ask what this means for the countryside. Some argue that with the urgent need for housing in the South East we need to look again at our greenbelt land. The Travellers themselves argue that they are very much a part of the countryside and that they would rather be homeless than be moved into towns. Whilst Basildon Council argue that we cannot let rules be bent by some, especially when the precious green areas that surround our biggest urban areas are at stake.
How we use our countryside in the future and how we see the Gypsy and Traveller communities as part of this will be a debate which is hard to solve.