Residents of the UK's largest illegal Travellers' site have lost their fight against eviction after a High Court judge refused their applications to challenge the action in court, ending a 10-year legal battle.
Three linked applications for judicial reviews against the local council's decision to remove the Travellers from Greenbelt land they have been living on illegally for the past 10 years were turned down.
Basildon Council said yesterday that it had no set timetable to begin removals on 49 of the 54 plots but action was not expected to begin before Monday.
Giving his judgment, Mr Justice Ouseley said: "The conclusion has been reached time and again that this is just the wrong site for Travellers. It is the residents of Dale Farm who have to comply with the obligation to leave voluntarily. If the removal becomes forcible it would be because of decisions made by the residents not to comply.
"The criminal law applies equally to all – Travellers and others alike," he said.
The community will appeal against the ruling.