Public Toilets told to reopen but still no help or funding from Westminster

From a story by Dan Bloom Mirror Online Political Editor in June 2020

Local government minister Simon Clarke and environment minister Rebecca Pow wrote to council chiefs today urging them to reopen loos.

Public toilets told to reopen as outdoor wees pose ‘harm to public health’ Ministers have written to council chiefs in England to end the lockdown practice of people ‘relieving themselves in public. People are being urged to spend their hard earned pounds to boost the local economy – but many can’t even spend a penny. The government has demanded public toilets reopen after warning the number of people relieving themselves outdoors poses a “harm to public health”.

Ministers jointly wrote to town halls in England today calling on them to reopen any loos that are still shuttered to stop the spread of Covid-19. Toilets in parks and other public places were closed from March to prevent transmission of the virus. But that has left many people in a tight spot as parks reopen to social groups of up to six people – but many toilets do not.

They said: “Councils should consider the harm to public health and the local environment caused by people relieving themselves in public.” The ministers warned the situation has got worse as the weather heats up. Many sufferers with bowel conditions have told of avoiding trips outdoors altogether due to anxiety about where to find a toilet.

They added:”Public hygiene is of the upmost importance, especially during the CORONAVIRUS pandemic, and enabling residents to access toilets safely is vital. Handwashing is an extremely important activity to help prevent the continued spread of the virus.

“Enabling residents to access toilets safely is vital.

Handwashing is important” Closed toilets may also impact disproportionately on certain groups who for health reasons rely on access to public toilets to be able to leave their homes.They can also make life difficult for young families and people who work outside. If you have toilets that are still shut, then we strongly urge you to refer to advice on measures that can be taken to open toilets in a safe way.”

A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA) said:
“Councils have been taking individual local decisions about public toilets they control based on a risk assessment basis, if they can provide adequate cleaning staff and schedules and, of course, whether the governments social distancing measures can be maintained.”

QUESTION: How can a Minister ask an Authority to put its precious time and resources into something that neither he nor his own government see any advantage in supporting or funding. Without PRIMARY legislation and the appropriate budget to encourage proper clean and hygienic publicly accessible toilets then these appear to be, SADLY, just hollow words.