Relief on Business Rates for Toilets

Budget 2018: Business rates cut for public toilets 29 October 2018 Owners will no longer pay business rates on public toilets, the chancellor announced. The BTA has been campaigning for nearly ten More »

BBC Freedom of Information findings

Reality Check: Public toilets mapped 15 August 2018 by Lora Jones & Rachel Schraer BBC Reality Check For travellers on their summer holidays, where to stop for a toilet break can be More »

MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY UK

Muscular Dystrophy UK is a charity for the 70,000 people living with muscle-wasting conditions in the UK, many of whom need access to Changing Places toilets. The charity brings together people affected More »

USE OUR LOO’s CAMPAIGN

USE OUR LOOS! Where to go, when you need to go ? A national campaign mobilising local business to make their loos accessible to the community they serve. We all need to More »

BTA Welcomes New Public Health Act For Wales

The BTA has been actively involved in the new Public Health (Wales) Bill which has now been passed by the Welsh Assembly and has achieved Royal Assent and on Monday 3rd July More »

 

Latest Toilet News

Relief on Business Rates for Toilets

Budget 2018:
Business rates cut for public toilets

29 October 2018

Owners will no longer pay business rates on public toilets, the chancellor announced.

The BTA has been campaigning for nearly ten years to get some RELIEF for organisations providing this vital service to everyone. We were delighted to hear the chancellor speech (jokes and all) as it brought with it an opportunity for providers and suppliers to put some added revenue into cleaning & maintenance activities.

Publicly accessible toilets are VITAL to our everyday activities and in addition to being a total necessity for many user groups and individuals with accessibility needs – parents with young children and supporting the dignity and well-being of older persons – they bring extended relief for our tourism industry, day-trippers and the growing numbers of mobile workers travelling throughout the UK.

Philip Hammond revealed the policy in his Budget speech, joking it was virtually the only announcement that had not been “leaked”. We’re hoping the news will cascade across the borders and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland governments will quickly follow suit.

The relief will apply to any standalone facilities available for public use, whether publicly or privately owned.
The British Toilet Association has estimated that 40% of public toilets have disappeared in the past decade.

More than 600 public toilets across the UK have stopped being maintained by councils since 2010 and in 37 areas major councils no longer run any, according to figures obtained by the BBC.

Details of that report are ccontained in a deperate POST on this website

Local authorities are not legally required to provide toilets, so they are often closed as councils look to cut costs. Public toilets have traditionally been liable for business rates in the same way as other non-domestic premises such as shops and offices. MPs groaned as Mr Hammond made a string of toilet jokes, including saying that local authorities could at last “relieve themselves”.

The chancellor also promised to help High Street shops by cutting business rates by a third for all retailers in England with a rateable value of £51,000 or less.

BBC Freedom of Information findings

Reality Check: Public toilets mapped

15 August 2018 by Lora Jones & Rachel Schraer BBC Reality Check

For travellers on their summer holidays, where to stop for a toilet break can be a source of worry. Public toilet provision has been declining for a number of years and the BBC has learnt that some UK high streets and tourist hot spots now no longer have any council-run public toilets.

At least 673 public toilets across the UK have stopped being maintained by major councils (unitary, borough, district and city) since 2010, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information law. In that time, the UK’s population has been increasing.

Change in the number of
council-run public toilets, 2010* to 2018

* Where no data for 2010 was available, data for subsequent years up to 2013 has been used instead. Source: BBC FOI requests.

 

 

Data supplied by 376 of the 430 councils contacted by the BBC showed that:

  • UK councils stopped maintaining around 13% of public toilets between 2010 and 2018
  • But this masks big regional variations – Cornwall Council has stopped maintaining 94% of its toilets, on the Isle of Wight it was 92% and 80% in North Ayrshire
  • In 2018 there were 4,486 toilets run by major councils in the UK, down from 5,159 in 2010
  • In 37 areas, major councils no longer run any public conveniences
  • Highland Council maintains most public toilets (92), followed by Gwynedd (73) and Pembrokeshire (73)

Local authorities are not legally required to provide toilets, meaning they are often closed as councils look to cut costs. A Local Government Association representative said that, while councils were doing everything they could to keep public toilets open, substantial reductions to their budgets have meant they have had to make “tough choices” about public facilities.

The Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government says it encourages councils to keep toilets open to the public since they are a “valuable community amenity”. These findings do not mean there are no toilets available at all, however – in many cases larger councils are shifting responsibility to smaller parish or town councils. Others have been handed to community groups and paid for through fundraising while some councils are relying on the goodwill of businesses to make their toilets available to the public.

Andy McGuinness, campaign manager of Crohn’s and Colitis UK, claims handing the running of facilities over to parish councils in England is only a short-term fix, because it simply passes on the financial pressure. “It takes the upkeep off their books but it’s not sustainable. Parish councils will run them for a couple of years and eventually they’ll probably close anyway,” he said. He added that, without action from government and local authorities, the increasing closures of public toilets in England posed a “very real problem for the millions of people living with continence problems”.

Local councils (such as town and parish councils) get their money from a share of council tax.

Sue Baxter, who chairs the National Association of Local Councils, said smaller councils were increasingly taking over discretionary services such as toilets as budget pressures meant larger councils were finding them harder to provide. But, she said, they faced a dilemma – whether to allow toilets in their local area to close or take them on and face a hefty “toilet tax” in the form of business rates paid on the premises.

What are your rights?

We asked the 50 councils with the biggest cuts how many had actually closed and how many had been handed over to smaller councils or other groups. Almost all of the 30 that responded had closed at least some, if not all, entirely. Only one council – East Northamptonshire – said its figures didn’t translate to any toilets actually being closed. Several had also handed the running of some toilets to private companies or community groups.

Raymond Martin, of the British Toilet Association, said providing toilets was a public health issue, but it was also about equality and social inclusion. He believes that, while councils have no legal requirement to provide access to public toilets, they do have a “moral responsibility”.

And charity Disability Rights UK says it has increasingly been receiving calls from disabled people reporting that accessible toilets are no longer available.

With these significant reductions in facilities, you might reasonably assume some people will resort to using their wider environment when caught short. So the BBC also asked councils and police forces whether they enforced any laws against public urination, and what had happened to numbers of offences in the same time period. We found that around the country, very few local councils or police forces take action against public urination. Those that do, however, use a range of tools including by-laws, public order offences specifically tackling public urination, and broader offences including indecent exposure, outraging the public decency, littering and harassment.

The London borough of Tower Hamlets, which had one of the biggest falls in the number of offences, said it has focused on “better enforcement” of the rules, which it said has acted as a deterrent. The council added that closures of pubs, clubs and bars had also contributed to the fall in offences.

Data supplied by 388 of 430 major councils and 39 out of 42 police forces in the UK covering the years 2010-2017 revealed that:

  • 233 councils and force areas don’t have any by-laws prohibiting public urination
  • Of the 180 forces and councils that had by-laws or public order offences against public urination, 112 said they hadn’t enforced them at all during this time period
  • For those that did enforce rules against public urination, the number of times they were enforced had fallen in almost all areas
  • In total, police forces and councils responding to the request recorded 15,297 offences relating to public urination in 2018, more than halving from 32,668 in 2010
  • Where police forces did use public order offences, the numbers were small – fewer than 10 offences in any given year

Cornwall’s unitary council saw the number of public toilets it maintains drop over the past five years, from 253 in 2013 to only 14. Over the same time, overall expenditure on toilets was all but wiped out, falling from £4.3m to only £217,000. A council representative said: “We recognise that public toilets are important to residents and visitors alike – but with huge cuts in funding by central government we have been forced, like other local authorities, to review the non-statutory services we provide. “We have now successfully transferred the ownership or management of over 200 public toilets to local city, town and parish councils and local community organisations and businesses. “Only 16 toilets have closed to date.” The council has also started charging for the remaining toilets it runs.

 

Wiltshire Council now runs only one public toilet on its streets, and another five at park-and-ride sites, in comparison with 32 in 2010.

The council saw its spending on toilets cut by more than £100,000 between the 2016 and 2017 financial years. It said 22 of the toilets were transferred to the control of town and parish councils, and the rest have closed. “We carried out a public consultation exercise in 2015 and the overwhelming response was facilities should be offered to the town and parish councils to run if they felt it was appropriate.”

One of the biggest spenders is the City of London Council. It spent £992,000 on running four public toilets in 2017. In 2010, it spent £1,029,000 on double the number of conveniences. When contacted by BBC News, the council did not comment on why expenditure had remained relatively flat.

New Forest District Council followed, with an overall expenditure of £877,660 on 24 public toilets and refurbishment work in 2017.

Bridgend County Borough Council in Wales now maintains only six public toilets, down from 16 in 2010. It said that three more toilets were likely to close in the next year, unless they are taken on by town councils, because of budget reductions.

Meanwhile in North Ayrshire, there has been a fall from 45 in 2010 to nine in 2018. The council says five of these were transferred into community ownership and paid for through fundraising, while the rest closed outright.

In Northern Ireland, eight local councils either increased or maintained the same number of public toilets between 2010 and 2018. Fermanagh and Omagh District Council had the highest number of council-run conveniences at 51 in 2018.

 Illustrations by Katie Horwich. Maps by Ed Lowther and Prina Shah.

MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY UK

Muscular Dystrophy UK is a charity for the 70,000 people living with muscle-wasting conditions in the UK, many of whom need access to Changing Places toilets. The charity brings together people affected by more than 60 rare and very rare progressive muscle-weakening and wasting conditions. Since 1959, the charity has been supporting families living with muscle-wasting conditions. They provide vital information, advice, resources and support for people with muscle-wasting conditions, their families and the professionals who work with them.

Since November 2017 Muscular Dystrophy UK have been co-chairs of Changing Places Consortium alongside PAMIS.

For further information please contact:
Marion Messmer or Clare Lucas
Muscular Dystrophy UK,
61A Great Suffolk Street,
London
SE1 0BU
Tel: 020 7803 4838
http://www.musculardystrophyuk.org/

working in partnership with

£2m for Changing Places Toilets in Motorway Service Aeras

Government investment of £2million for Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations

 

Today, the Department for Transport has launched its Inclusive Transport Strategy.

We are thrilled to announce that the Department for Transport’s Strategy includes a commitment to provide £2 million for the purpose of getting more Changing Places toilets installed at motorway service stations in England. We have had a number of meetings with the Department for Transport over the last few months and know that this decision has been influenced by the large number of consultation submissions they received which highlighted the challenges people experience due to a lack of Changing Places toilets at transport hubs.
The Department have also made reference to the huge support for Zack Kerr’s petition which called for improved Changing Places toilet provision at motorway services.
Changing Places campaigners and the Consortium have been fighting for a long time to get Changing Places toilets installed at motorway services. Whilst there has been positive progress over the last few years there is still a long way to go. Across the UK, there are currently just 18 registered Changing Places toilets (15 of which are in England) across a network of over 100 service stations. This isn’t good enough.
This money from the Department for Transport would mean that over ¼ million people with severe disabilities and their families will be able to travel easily and comfortably on the road network, safe in the knowledge that they can access toilets that meet their needs.
They will be speaking with the Department for Transport soon and look forward to sharing more information about how this investment will work in practice.  The Inclusive Transport Strategy also includes a £300 million investment in making railway stations more accessible, compensation for disabled passengers if booked assistance is not provided, and a league table of the best-performing companies.
Thank you to all the campaigners who have worked so hard to make the case for Changing Places toilets at transport hubs. There is still a long way to go until we can say public transport is accessible for all but this commitment and investment is a step in the right direction.

USE OUR LOO’s CAMPAIGN

USE OUR LOOS!

Where to go, when you need to go ?
A national campaign mobilising local business to make their loos accessible to the community they serve. We all need to use a loo or public restroom when we are out and about each day and it’s getting harder and harder to find a good clean toilet to get relief and allow us to enjoy the local area. With Local authorities struggling to provide enough facilities, now many local businesses and store owners are keen join into a Community Toilet Scheme (CTS) to make sure that everyone can continue to enjoy local amenities and continue shopping. Libraries, Museums and Public buildings will also be targeted

The British Toilet Association

The BTA along with Uniliver (Domestos Brand), the Gt British Toilet Map, NeonTribe and Edelman have joined forces to promote a National Campaign to record the locations of all publicly available loo’s throughout the UK. These include toilets provided by local authorities, private providers like Healthmatic and Danfo (UK) and for the first time we will be promoting those facilities provided by local shops/stores and businesses to help all types of users to find relief when travelling or shopping “away from home”

We are currently recruiting a part-time Campaign Manager to help co-ordinate the collection of data and information on all those businesses who want to offer their support to this campaign,

Unilever (Domestos)

Domestos believes that a clean, safe toilet should be within everyone’s reach.
That is why it is tackling the demise of the UK public toilet and making it accessible once more.
Just as Domestos has been doing, in many underdeveloped countries, in partnership with UNICEF for over four years waging the war on poor sanitation, because everyone deserves a clean toilet.

The Gt British Public Toilet Map

 

Businesses are rewarded for you doing your business. Fame and visibility from free publicity and hopefully increased turnover from increased footfall. Feeling the added benefit of  a warm feeling that they are helping people live their lives to the fullest.

USE OUR LOOS is the first national scheme that unlocks the loos that are hidden in our coffee shops, cafés, restaurants and bars. And gives them back to the community.

Great British Public Toilet Map will eventually provide the most accurate and up-to-date map of publicly available loos in the UK, powered by NeonTribe

CAMPAIGN OVERVIEW

The “Use Our Loos” campaign will do the following:

  • Ask for public loos to be kept open and more loos in businesses to be made publicly available;
  • Thank those who make the commitment to help through recognition, fame and free cleaning product;
  • Drive a connection with their local community and footfall to their businesses;
  • Address ‘toilet stigma’ and aim to change the cultural context to appreciation and openness;
  • Create the first national campaign to bring together the numerous, disparate Community Toilet Schemes, with singular signage and naming; and
  • Ensure all these publicly accessible loos are discoverable at the right time for those in need by collaborating with the Great
You can sign your venue up to the Use Our Loos campaign by entering your details here:
https://goo.gl/forms/zsjmQpc8lyCdRt1k1
 
For more information contact Rachel our Campaign Manager at useourloos@gmail.com or please call the BTA office 0044 (0) 2891 477 397

 

Changing Places Toilet Map – Update

UPDATE:
Monday 5th November 2018

1,199 Changing Places Toilets

With nearly twelve hundred Changing Places toilets now installed and located across the UK the system is becoming increasingly important to both carers and users searching for these types of specialised facilities.

Since November 2017 Muscular Dystrophy UK have now become Co-Chairs of the changing Places Consortium alongside Pamis. Muscular Dystrophy UK is a charity for the 70,000 people living with muscle-wasting conditions in the UK, many of whom need access to Changing Places toilets. The charity brings together people affected by more than 60 rare and very rare progressive muscle-weakening and wasting conditions. Since 1959, the charity has been supporting families living with muscle-wasting conditions. They provide vital information, advice, resources and support for people with muscle-wasting conditions, their families and the professionals who work with them. 

The new WebApp will accompany the site. WebAPP 1Users can now install the new WebApp on their
PC , Tablet or smartphone. This will be available in virtually all formats and will allow users to move directly to the map with having to follow the traditional paths. The WebApp will be totally FREE OF CHARGE for all users of the Changing Places Toilet Map. Additionally the new application will allow for Geo-Centering, which if allowed, will automatically detect your location, and centre the map on it.

Changing Places toilets were designed and created for users with Profound and Multiple Learning Disorders (PMLD). Most of these individuals need very specialized toilet equipment such as hoists, height adjustable beds, screens, sharps disposal and colostomy equipment. The toilets are of sufficient size to allow a wheelchair and up to two adults to move freely in use. Most are protected by a Radar key entry or via local control. In just a few short years the Charter Group has seen the number of CP toilets rise to 784 across the UK and at present are increasing by around 10 – 15 per mChanging Places - New Interior Photographonth.

We were extremely fortunate to receive a Start-Up grant from the British Cleaning Council (BCC) to cover our initialisation costs – working through  design, construct and setting the development goals. After months of extensive consideration and consultation we managed to find and appoint Velocity 42 as our programme developers and I am delighted to report that Chris and the team have completed every task on time and within an extremely tight budget, whilst even incorporating many new ideas and processes. Mencap Headquarters in London received the initial project funding from the Department of Communities and Local Government as well as the regional devolved administration in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the BTA accepted the role of project coordinator to bring this specialized map to fruition. Members of both Mencap and Pamis have been instrumental in helping to create a new mapping database and delivery system that is easy to use and also contains vital information that everyone needs to find and access to these very specialised units.

The BTA will now develop and manage the growth of the new system whilst our partners will be ensuring that the information is up-to-date and accurate. We believe this new system will provide users with a faster search; greater accuracy to the actual toilet location and opening hours. Users can register their personal details and then Save selected toilets into a Favorites folder for future recovery. Additionally the introduction of a trip planner will greatly help carers and support groups to plan for extended journeys.

The new map will produce an accurate database which will allow us to identify where provision is low or lacking and where new sites are needed. The Information Profile Sheet (IPS) for each toilet contains a Feedback Button that allows users to report to Mencap and Pamis on any remedial action or ideas for future improvement. The map will be accessible using your PC, Laptop, Tablet and various Mobile devices.

You can get immediate access via the Changing Places Website: www.changing-places.org and follow the Find a Toilet tabs. Additionally you can gain access directly from the BTA website on the Changing Places page.

Plans are well established to enhance the map and increase the information available to all users. We are actively working on plans to get news of this launch distributed to as many communities as possible. If you or your organisation is willing to help spread the word, please drop us an email to enquiries@btaloos.co.uk

The Changing Places Campaign

CP Circle ImageThe Changing Places Consortium launched its campaign in 2006 on behalf of the 1/4 of a million people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.This includes people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, as well as older people.

To use the toilet in safety and comfort, many people need to be able to access a Changing Places toilet which has enough space and the right equipment, including a height adjustable changing bench and a hoist.

 

Toilet Tourism boost for China

President Xi Jinping, now a bathroom aficionado after frequent visits to inspect the facilities in rural homes, has announced he’s doubling down on a campaign for a Chinese “toilet revolution” that he launched in 2015. Voicing the concerns of many a wary traveller, the communist leader said clean toilets were the cornerstone of a civilized society and would help boost travel to China as well as improving the hygiene of the masses.

China has opened about 68,000 improved bathrooms in tourist areas around the country since Xi began his campaign. Good news for places in China that have long had a notorious reputation for appalling standards of public restroom hygiene. Once deterring visitors with its doorless dry toilets, Jiuzhaigou Natural Reserve in southwestern Sichuan province has just welcomed a series of new eco-toilets around the area.

Last year, Yunnan province, which borders Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, held a competition to select the most outstanding toilets in tourist attractions. Lijiang Old Town — previously known for toilets without individual cubicles –claimed top prize for offering facilities with odour eliminators, a motion sensor dustbin and green plants.

toilet camera

“Toilet issues are not petty matters but an important aspect of satisfying the public’s desire for a decent and healthy life,” Jack Sim, founder of global sanitation campaigner the World Toilet Organization.

Sim, aka “Mr. Toilet,” says a lack of clean facilities could harm China’s tourism industry in the long run. “China is a beautiful country with rich natural landscapes and culture and a long history,” he says. “But the lack of clean toilets made tourism impossible to be promoted as the tour agencies always get bad reports and complaints after the tour — as the stench, filth and terrible condition of many Chinese toilets horrified foreign visitors.”

China’s government says it now wants toilet improvements nationwide — from tourism spots to cities to rural backwaters. One of the biggest challenges, according to the WTO, is changing cultural attitudes.

toilets sculpture in woods

“In many cases, money is not the problem, but it is a mindset problem,” says Bai Lin, WTO’s China project manager. “If we are able to make toilets fashionable, just like a cell phone, a TV, or a dream, we can change the toilet culture of China.”

 

Mumsnet Toilet Debate

A mum has sparked a fierce debate online after revealing her husband takes their daughter into the ladies’ toilets when they’re out in public. Taking to MUMSNET, the mum explained that she had told her hubby that other women would not “like” the fact that he escorted their four-year-old into the ladies’ loos. She wrote: “Help dh [darling husband] and I with a disagreement please. “When dd [darling daughter], four, needs the loo in a public place, he takes her to the ladies’ loos. “I told him that women don’t like that and he should take her to the men’s loo. Am I being unreasonable or is he?”

Needless to say, many were quick to wade into the debate – and the reaction was pretty mixed. Some agreed, saying “adult men should never be in women’s toilets” – while others sympathised with the dad’s plights and said that they could understand why he wouldn’t want to take the little girl into the men’s loos.

One wrote: “Would prefer to see a man take his daughter into ladies if no family/disabled toilet available. Don’t think any young child needs urinal or stinky cubicle exposure.”

Another added: “I can see this from both sides, it wouldn’t bother me but I know how it could upset others.

Someone else wrote: “I would have no issue with seeing a man in the ladies loo with a small child needing a wee.

“I really wouldn’t want my DD at the age of four heading into the men’s loos, they stink!”

Several people even suggested that he should take her to the disabled toilet instead – which sparked further debate about whether this would be appropriate or not.

BTA logo PMS

The BTA Director found himself locked in the BBC studios faced with interviews from 18 regional and national radio stations, who became embroiled in this debate. The discussions covered a range of issues from male and female using the alternative provision, right or wrong, through gender neutral toilets and to the use of accessible facilities by the general public.

Whilst there is no immediate solution, without significant investment in more toilets and better overall provision across the country, it continues to highlight the shortfall in government investment in the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors across the UK.

 

Sainsbury’s introduce Dementia-friendly toilets

Sainsbury’s has become the first supermarket to introduce ‘dementia-friendly’ signs in all store toilets, thanks to a campaigning pensioner who was repeatedly forced to rescue her husband – who suffered from Alzheimer’s – as he tried to find his way to and from the loos. The make-over will include large, colourful ‘way out’ signs to prevent confusion among customers who suffer with memory problems.

Many hospitals have also taken measures to become more dementia-friendly over the past few years, incorporating high-contrast measures to show where the floor joins the wall, visual breaks to mark where handrails are ending and doors painted in distinctive colour. Researchers have also identified that light plays a key role for elderly people, with estimates suggesting that people over the age of 75 need roughly twice as much light as their younger contemporaries in order to see satisfactorily.

Commenting on Sainsbury’s decision, Emma Bould – programme partnership project manager at the Alzheimer’s Society – said:

“We are delighted to see toilets with dementia friendly signage being installed nationally at all Sainsbury’s stores by March 2018. Finding and exiting toilets can often be confusing for people living with dementia, causing anxiety when they are out and about. This small but significant step will enable people with dementia to quickly find the exit, while also making the route clearer to all customers.”

Sainsburys store front

HSE REVIEWS APPROACH TO TRUCKER’S TOILETS

The Road Haulage Association has expressed its relief at news that the Health and Safety Executive has reviewed it’s approach concerning access to facilities for visiting delivery drivers and has re-examined the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, in particular Regs 20 and 21.

They are now in the process of updating their guidance to say that drivers must have access to welfare facilities in the premises they visit as part of their work. As this is likely to take some time, key stakeholders are being informed now.

Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “If this industry is to retain a healthy, safe workforce, then drivers must have access to proper facilities. This problem for many members and their drivers is all too familiar. Visiting drivers are often refused access to toilet facilities at delivery sites – an unacceptable practice that we are determined to eradicate.”

“We have been working with campaigning group Truckers Toilets UK to improve this situation; not just at distribution centres but on the entire road network. We therefore consider it a considerable win for the entire industry that HSE have re-examined the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations and are going to update their guidance to say that drivers must have access to welfare facilities in the premises they visit as part of their work. These changes won’t happen overnight but key stakeholders are being informed now.

Concluding, Richard Burnett said: “The welfare of all workers is a priority and we have consistently said that drivers should have this sort of access. We also recognise that the majority of duty holders already provide reasonable access to toilets. However, it is appalling that in the 21st century we have to report on these issues. It is now our intention to carry out a geomapping exercise to show drivers where the best facilities are in the UK.