Monthly Archives: June 2014

Wales Draft Public Health Bill

Draft Public Health Law for Wales

Toilet users in Wales could soon find help is at hand, from councils.

A new draft law is being put forward by the the Welsh government will aim to put the responsibility on local authorities to make sure there are enough public toilets. Councils throughout Wales would be required to develop a TOILET STRATEGY which would assess, regularly review, and meet the local demand for the conveniences. The new duty will be in a draft law setting out measures aimed at improving public health. If passed, it is thought it could be the first duty of its type to be introduced in the UK. It would apply to all toilets owned by local authorities, including those in libraries and sports halls.

 “In an age of austerity the answer simply cannot be find more money for it. what we have to do is be more imaginative” Mark Drakeford Health Minister

Last year the British Toilet Association estimated that there has been a 50% drop in the number of public toilets across the UK in the last 12 years. Older people’s charities have long argued that cuts to public toilet provision have had an increasing impact, especially on older and disabled people who they claim can be left afraid of venturing out of their homes. In March 2012 the assembly’s health and social care committee published a report which claimed there was a “strong public health case for better public toilet provision”.

Welsh Assembly Members heard evidence that often public toilets were difficult to find or not open when needed, and that facilities did not meet their needs and were unclean and unsafe. Health minister Mark Drakeford told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Wales: “We know that if people are not confident that they will have the facilities they need then it has a distorting effect on their lives. “They stay at home when they would like to go out. They don’t take tablets that they need to take in order to be able to go out. “And for older people, people with some mental health conditions, people with young families and children, the fact that they need to be confident that there are proper facilities that they can use if they want to be out in our society is a genuine public health issue.”

The white paper sets out the Welsh government’s proposals for legislation which will be consulted on.
The BTA has made two responses to the department regarding this bill and  is currently revising the amendment proposals that are being circulated before the bill goes forward.
We will try to keep you all updated as further information is made available including any announcements as they arise

The BTA is also actively working with The Commissioner for Older Persons in Wales, Sarah Rochira and her well-being policy advisor’s to bring about a significant change in the thinking and provision of publicly accessible toilets  across Wales and throughout the whole of the United kingdom. Sarah commented ” public conveniences are assets we need to preserve.”