William Eichler 23 May 2019

Closure of public toilets ‘threat to health’, warns report

The decline in public toilets is a threat to health, mobility, and equality, according to a public health body.

A new report from the Royal Society for Public Health says that increasing pressure on council budgets has led to the privatisation or closure of many public toilets.

The report, entitled ‘Taking the P***’, warns that this has a disproportional impact on people with ill health, disabilities, the elderly, women, outdoor workers and the homeless.

The knowledge of a lack of facilities nearby acts as a ‘loo leash’, deterring as many as one in five (20%) from venturing out of their homes as often as they would like.

This percentage rises to over two in five (43%) among those with medical conditions requiring frequent toilet use.

Over half (56%) of the public restrict fluid intake due to concern over lack of toilet facilities.

The RSPH argues that the Government should make the provision of public toilets compulsory on a well planned and regulated basis.

‘Our report highlights that the dwindling public toilet numbers in recent years is a threat to health, mobility, and equality that we cannot afford to ignore,’ said Shirley Cramer, RSPH chief executive.

‘As is so often the case in this country, it is a health burden that falls disproportionately on already disadvantaged groups.

‘Standing in the way of this necessary and serious policy discussion is a stubbornly persistent ‘toilet taboo’, a decade of cuts to local authorities, and an increasingly ingrained notion that public toilets are merely a ‘nice-to-have’.

‘Public toilets are no luxury: it’s high time we begin to see them as basic and essential parts of the community – just like pavements and street lights – that enable people to benefit from and engage with their surroundings.’

Commenting on the report, Unison head of local government Jon Richards said: ‘Billions of pounds slashed from council budgets mean people struggle to spend a penny even when they’re desperate.

‘It’s also a real inconvenience for those who work outside, such as care assistants, district nurses, refuse collectors and others who don’t have offices.’

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Service – Adults Services South, Safeguarding & DoLS

Bolton Council
£51,772
It is an exciting time to join us as Head of Service for Safeguarding, DoLS and South District. Bolton, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Bolton Council

Apprenticeship

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£28,470 - £44,628
Kick-start your career with an apprenticeship based in Royal Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Social Worker – Enhanced Social Care Support In Reach

Essex County Council
£32,787 to £44,826
We currently have an opportunity for a Social Worker to join our Countywide Enhanced Support In Reach Team. Essex / Countywide
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Procurement Assistant Manager x 3

Essex County Council
£38,762
We are looking for an experienced procurement professional to fulfil this truly wide ranging role. Chelmsford, Essex / Anywhere Worker
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Group Accountant-Business Services

City of Bradford MDC
£42,614 to £47,665
Bradford is currently on a journey of change delivering the ambitious outcomes of our Council Plan. Bradford, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of Bradford MDC

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.