Monthly Archives: February 2016
BTA DIRECTORS APPEARANCE
On Wednesday 3rd February the BTA’s director was invited to London to make a SOAPBOX presentation and then appear on the Daily Politics Show which was transmitted LIVE that day. The BTA feature was at the end of this transmission and can be viewed at 1:22:34 if you follow the video link below. The host presenters were Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn with additional guests Therese Coffey MP, The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and Chris Bryant MP, Shadow Leader of the House of Commons. Due to the extended EU Reform debate the time allocated to this feature was severely restricted but the feature was seen by a very large audience. I am delighted to report that the response to this feature has been considerable.
The SOAPBOX item allowed us to clearly get across several messages that urgently need to be addressed to halt the accelerated decline in the number of clean, hygienic, publicly accessible toilets across the country. Having access to a toilet is about our
HEALTH & WELL-BEING
PUBLIC DIGNITY & DECENCY
For many millions of our citizens living with either a severe medical condition or a disability the urgency to find a toilet quickly and within a limited distance can be absolutely vital. Many of these individuals are suffering with IBS, Bladder and Bowel problems, dementia and conditions that severely restrict both their movements and the distances they can afford to travel – away from home.
Likewise, everyone living with or caring for individuals struggling with a disability immediately understands the extreme necessity of being able to locate and access a clean hygienic facility within a limited journey time. This is why we have created the Changing Places Mapping System for Mencap & Pamis. It allows users to both FIND and PLAN A ROUTE to nearby facilities .
But the loss of public toilets affects us all. Families with small children – or caring for older relatives, pregnant mums and older persons living independently. Everyone who commutes to and from work and including young persons travelling to school or college. It impacts anyone who travels across this wonderful country on a holiday break or to visit relatives, as well as, van and lorry drivers delivering goods and services throughout the city’s, towns and villages. We know it has a profound effect on both visitors and tourists arriving into our towns from overseas…. The list includes all of us who have a range of conditions and needs when we are outside our home environment and need relief !
ABOLISH BUSINESS RATES ON PUBLIC TOILETS
The BTA has for some time now been leading the call for government to abolish the NDR tax levied on public toilets. The total tax paid by councils is currently estimated to be around £8 million and that equates to around £2,000 per building. However, some units have applied for an exemption – so actually many units are paying considerably higher fees to subsidise the others. Whilst councils are looking to save monies and make cuts – the government could have easily helped and perhaps SAVED a number of our toilets with this simple first step. the Prime Minister DAVID CAMERON spoke to a local radio station in Cornwall last September during his last holiday visit. He was appalled to hear that the council was considering closing around 42 public toilets in the borough because of the severe cuts and pressures. He vowed to take a look and speak to his department to try and find a way to resolve the issue and avoid these closures. Below is the link to the original story
As discussed, briefly, in the show and on the trailer there are solutions to be found to these issues. We all accept that the government needs to find the fortitude, resolve and more importantly the WILL to work with councils and organisations such as the BTA to search and devise solutions for this national crisis. The continued lack of public toilets will force us back to a “third world” situation with more and more street urination and defecation causing huge problems on our streets and thoroughfares. We are already concerned about a rise in transmitted diseases from unwashed hands and work surfaces – add to that street signs & poles, car doors, walls and shop doorways. Consider the escalating costs of squads of cleansing operatives having to race around the streets and towns with disinfectant and power scrubbers to clean sidewalk stairwells and public areas where we walk and our children play.
There are solutions to be found:
NDR: Abolish the tax completely or allow BTA to reinvest these monies back into increased provision
STRATEGIES: a UK wide initiative for councils to develop a positive toilet strategy for each area
CHARGING: Raising the cost of entering these units to offset the running costs – 20p/30p/50p/£1
FRANCHISING: Using floor area to integrate a commercial business which offsets the running costs
KIOSKS: New structures could be built with integral public toilets and placed in town centres
RAIN WATER CAPTURE: using natural resources to avoid the cost of water rates/charges
ECO LIGHTING & HEATING: ground heat pumps and sensors to reduce daily running costs
SERVICE STATIONS: might be encouraged to develop/build external facilities for motorists/tourists
COMMUNITY TOILET SCHEMES: More could be done to enhance commercial partnership
BTA MAPPING: accurate information collected and displayed to allow the public to find working sites
The SOAPBOX trailer was filmed on the South Bank, close to Jubilee Gardens and permission was kindly granted to feature the wonderful Jubiloo Toilets supplied by Healthmatic Ltd.