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Age UK London calls for more public loos!

Published on 18 November 2021 12:28 PM

On the eve of World Toilet Day, older people’s charity Age UK London is launching a campaign calling for better public toilet provision as part of their ‘Out and About’ campaign to tackle isolation and loneliness amongst the city’s older residents.  

Too many older Londoners feel trapped in their own homes as they are not confident they will be able to access a toilet if they need to.

This has been made worse by the long-term decline in the number of public toilets, with a 19% decrease since 2016. The latest estimate is that there are 1,500 public toilets in London, which is fewer than one for every 5,000 Londoners. Availability of public toilets is a postcode lottery, in Westminster there are over 150 but in Hackney there are less than 20.

One in five people report experiencing the ‘loo leash’ where they don’t leave their homes as much as they might like because of worries that they won’t be able to find a toilet when they need to.

Age UK London want to see more maps and information about the location of toilets, stressing that this must include hard-copy information for those offline. Councils are not legally required to provide public toilets but Age UK London want toilet provision to be considered a public health responsibility. They are also calling for more Community Toilet Schemes and the sharing of good practice across London.

Abigail Wood, CEO of Age UK London said:

“The city’s lack of toilets is a serious public health concern. It is already disadvantaged older Londoners such as those with disabilities or long-term health conditions requiring more frequent visits to the toilet that are most affected.”

“Good provision of public toilets is a hallmark of civilised and accessible public spaces.  The situation in London is much more than just an inconvenience, it has a serious impact on the quality of life of older Londoners and it must be addressed.” 

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Notes to editors:

  1. Abigail Wood, Age UK London’s Chief Executive, is available for interviews. Please contact Aurelie Leroy (07484127209) for more information.
  2. You can find out more information about our Out and About campaign on our website: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/london/projects-campaigns/out-and-about/
  3. Sources:
    - Great British Toilet map: https://www.toiletmap.org.uk/
    - Taking the P***: The decline of the Great British Public Toilet, Royal Society for Public Health, 2019: https://www.rsph.org.uk/static/uploaded/459f4802-ae43-40b8-b5a006f6ead373e6.pdf