Hundreds of travellers from the UK's largest unauthorised site are facing eviction after losing a last-ditch High Court bid.
Lawyers for the residents of Dale Farm in Essex had applied for a temporary injunction to stop Basildon Borough Council evicting the families.
But the High Court in London dismissed the application which now paves the way for the council to start evicting the travellers.
Basildon Council said it was "satisfied" with the decision, however, the travellers and their supporters are pinning their hopes on the possibility of an 11th-hour reversal, which hinges on the court's concern over one resident, a 72-year-old with health problems.
Mary Flynn, who suffers breathing problems and uses an electric nebuliser, has been the crucial protagonist in the High Court battle, and now the council is to review fresh medical evidence relating to her before evicting her.
Despite the consideration, which the travellers see as a lifeline, council leader Tony Ball said: "We are satisfied with today's High Court decision. We will now continue with our preparations for the clearance of Dale Farm.
"But this will take place only after we have informed the travellers of the intended date when the operation will begin.
"Direct action to clear Dale Farm is a last resort for the council and we take it reluctantly - but after almost 10 years of legal wrangling and exhausting the judicial process the travellers have left us with absolutely no choice.
"They have broken the law which we are duty bound to uphold. And this is what we believe the vast majority of local people expect us to do."
Planning for a multi-million pound operation to evict the travellers is under way, but it is understood that any action is not likely to happen until mid-September.