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MPs pull chain on town halls in call for more public loos

PUBLISHED: 15:33 23 October 2008 | UPDATED: 13:42 05 October 2010

TOWN halls should no longer carry on at their convenience' when it comes to providing public loos, say campaigners. Now even MPs at Westminster are calling for local authorities to reverse a decline in the number of facilities where you can spend a penny.' A Commons select committee says local authorities should develop public loo' strategies

Mike Brooke

TOWN halls should no longer carry on at their convenience’ when it comes to providing public loos, say campaigners.

Now even MPs at Westminster are calling for local authorities to reverse a decline in the number of facilities where you can spend a penny, ’ estimated at 40 per cent in the past eight years alone.

The British Toilet Association, which has been campaigning for better away from home’ loos throughout the UK since 1999, welcomed a report today from the Community & Local Government Select Committee to impose a duty on authorities to develop a public loo’ strategy.

“We look forward to hearing Ministers’ response to the report,” said its director Mike Bone.

“We will continue to campaign until the British public—and the increasing numbers of visitors to this country—can enjoy the availability of public toilets when and where they are needed.”

It gave evidence to the Select Committee and contributed to the Government’s Strategic Guide on improving public access to better quality toilets published in March.

The organisation is worried about lack of public facilities, especially in London which plays host to the world for the 2012 Olympics.

Many of its local authority members have failed to provide adequate facilities and have actually closed public toilets, it says.

The Select Committee recommends local authorities develop a public convenience’ strategy for their area.

MP Dr Phyllis Starkey, who chaired the Select Committee, said: “Our recommendation is that the Government imposes a duty to develop a strategy which should involve consultation with the community.

“This will go a long way towards achieving the right of people who live in and visit this country to have accessible and clean public toilets, wherever they live, work or visit.”

The report also recommends Town Halls use their existing powers to make sure more public loos are available, either by using planning, licensing and leasing powers, running public toilets themselves or by paying local businesses such as shops, cafes and pubs to provide public access to their toilets.

It offers hope to all who need to use public toilets—men and women, families with babies and young children and those with disabilities who need accessible toilets with the facilities they require, the British Toilet Association says.

But it falls short of the association’s demands for the Government to place an obligation on councils—the 1936 Public Health Act gives them power to provide public toilets, but imposes no duty to do so, it points out.

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British Toilet Association campaign:

enquiries@britloos.co.uk

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