A decision on a high-profile court appeal which could have implications for travellers and councils across the country could be known as early as Christmas, a committee has heard. 

Bromley Council, backed by seven other local authorities, has appealed a High Court ruling made in May which overturned their move to stop travellers from staying on public land in the borough.

Members of the Safer Bromley community were updated on the case by the council’s street enforcement manager Toby Smith, who attended the hearings on December 3 and 4 on behalf of the authority.

Mr Smith said he was limited in what he could say due to the ongoing court case, but said a decision could be made as early as before Christmas.

“It’s a 50-50 and that’s all I can say at the moment,” Mr Smith said.

The development is the latest in a long-running saga between Traveller’s activists and local authorities.

The council first successfully obtained a court injunction in August last year which forbade “persons unknown” from occupying public land in the borough.

In a statement issued at the time, the authority said: “We will not accept illegal encampments on our green spaces, parks and other areas managed by the council and are totally committed to using our legal powers”.

However, campaign group London Gypsies and Travellers successfully challenged the injunction in May this year, arguing that it unfairly targeted the group.

It was instead ruled that the scope of the injunction would be vastly reduced, to include just fly-tipping or dumping waste.

London Gypsies and Travellers, which is opposing the latest court action as well, said injunctions by councils didn’t address the issue of a lack of spaces for travellers’ camps.

“The injunctions don’t solve anything,” Debby Kennett, LGT’s chief executive, said in a statement earlier this month. 

“They simply push Gypsies and Travellers to stop on the roadside in other areas. Continual evictions cause greater hardship for Gypsy and Traveller families on the roadside – encouraging public prejudice, disrupting their family life, threatening their health and well-being and preventing access to education, work and services.”

“We firmly hope the judges in this appeal will uphold the earlier judgement. This would uphold basic human rights, and recognise Gypsies and Travellers’ nomadic way of life and their long history in London boroughs.”