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Toilet Commissioner needed to level up public loos

Published 3rd May, 2024 by Raymond Martin

Raymond Martin

Raymond Martin

Managing Director
British Toilet Association
The British Cleaning Council

Toilet Commissioner needed to level up public loos

Raymond Martin, Managing Director, the British Toilet Association (BTA), reports.

Living in a modern, transient and hopefully clean and caring society, there are a number of essentials that we all need to function productively. Roads and transportation, hospitals and doctors’ surgeries, shops, restaurants and cafes are all important for modern, city life - as are public toilets.

Having direct access to a publicly accessible toilet while out and about is inherently essential to our everyday health and well-being, important for social and community inclusion and must be a fundamental provision for equality and human rights. The provision of toilets for daily public use is essential and vital to a fair and decent society.

For over 20 years, the BTA has been continuously working with, and on behalf of, all users and accessible groups whose lives and well-being depend on being able to find urgent relief. For everyone travelling away from home, there will be a need to find a decent clean and hygienic place to go to the toilet or, at the very least, wash their hands to prevent and avoid transmission of dangerous pathogens or disease.

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically raised the issue of improving cleanliness and hygienic standards and we must learn that lesson. It is our primary mission to work with all those organisations, charities and officials who understand the dangers of allowing our once world-leading standards in the sphere of public toilet provision to continue to evaporate and decline.

This is, however, becoming increasingly difficult as public facilities continue to close. In a continued period of forced austerity nearly every UK local authority or local council is facing severe budget pressures and a lack of physical resources to maintain public toilet facilities.

Growing numbers of retail shops, stores and commercial providers seem unwilling and, more often, unable to cope with the increasing demands of a wide range of consumers trying to find relief in our busy towns and cities.

We need Government to work with industry specialists to find new and exciting solutions to this serious decline in standards of hygiene and sanitation and the resulting social care issues. It is now estimated that publicly accessible toilet numbers have been cut by an estimated 60 per cent in the last 12 years.

The BTA, along with many like-minded organisations, is urging Government that a managed solution must be found, to provide decent, clean and accessible toilets that protect our personal cleanliness and hygiene needs as well as our safety and dignity. We are therefore calling on all public authorities and publicly-owned organisations to create and implement an action plan for the provision of toilets for the public and that a national Toilet Commissioner or similar should be identified and given the power and funding for the coordination and support of such plans, as well as supervising their implementation.

The creation of a Toilet Commissioner had been proposed as part of the Government’s Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill but the idea was dropped last year and it urgently needs reviving.

www.btaloos.co.uk

About the contributor

Raymond Martin

Raymond Martin

Managing Director

British Toilet Association

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