Welsh Government must save public toilets

Source : Age Cymru
Published on 04 December 2012 11:00 AM

Age Cymru has welcomed a new report by Welsh Senate of Older People about public toilet closures. 

The organisation’s ‘Public Toilet Provision Research’ report shows that 51 per cent of people in Wales think the Welsh Government should take action to open more toilets, or to stop current ones closing.

It’s the latest part of the group’s ‘P is for People’ campaign to save public toilets.

Welsh Senate of Older People spokesperson John Vincent says:

“Clearly there is strong public feeling about the need to have access to toilets in communities across Wales.

“Over half the 799 people we surveyed felt the Welsh Government needs to take more action to protect our existing network of toilets and to find ways of opening more toilets.

“The British Toilet Association estimates that 40 per cent of our public toilets have disappeared over the last ten years.

“As local authorities are not obliged to provide public toilets, we feel this is contributing to the disappearance of public toilets across the country.

“This is why the Welsh Senate of Older People wants the Welsh Government to put a law in place that forces local authorities to provide public toilets.”

The ‘Public Toilet Provision Research’ survey also shows:

• 85 per cent of respondents said they would pay a small fee (20p) to use a public toilet;
• 80 per cent of respondents said that if the public toilet they used most was not available, it would have an impact on their lifestyle;
• 19 per cent of respondents said not having a public toilet would mean they were able to go out less often or that they wouldn’t go out at all;
• 18 per cent of respondents said the absence of public toilets would be ‘difficult, awkward, inconvenient or stressful’;
• 18 per cent of respondents feel action is needed to keep current public toilets clean and combat vandalism;

Age Cymru’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Graeme Francis, says:

“Public toilets are a lifeline for older people, providing them with freedom, independence and the confidence they need to lead fulfilling and active lives.

“Yet despite this, public toilets are disappearing from our communities at an alarming rate and assertive action is needed to halt this decline.

“Age Cymru supports the Welsh Senate of Older People’s ‘P is for People’ campaign and backs the call for a new law to compel local authorities to provide public toilets in the communities that they serve.” 

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact Iwan Rhys Roberts on 029 2043 1562, 07739 894 923, iwan.roberts@agecymru.org.uk

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