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The issue regarding public toilet provision (or lack of) has clearly touched a nerve – not just in this industry but amongst the wider general public. The consensus appears to be that there’s a lot needing to be done to ensure that public toilets are available for those who need to use them and also that providers should be doing all they can to ensure that every establishment is safe, clean, hygienic and well stocked.
There have been a lot of positive responses to the idea of an ongoing Public Toilet Forum in Cleanzine so that’s something we’re going to be going ahead with. To kick off, Susan Cunningham of www.publicinconveniences.org.uk has provided us with her first draft of a proposed Hygiene Ratings System for public toilets which you can see here. Like Susan, I hope it will provoke some reader reaction, and, with this, some fresh ideas.
Further support comes from the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, which has welcomed a letter from Ministers to local councils, calling for more public toilets to be opened. The trade body warned that a lack of facilities could be a brake on the country’s economic recovery and I agree with everything said.
In their letter, Simon Clarke MP, Minister for Local Government and Rebecca Pow MP, Minister for the Environment, said: “Public hygiene is of the utmost importance, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, and enabling residents to access toilets safely is vital. Handwashing is an important activity to help prevent the spread of the virus. 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.”
The BMA’s CEO, Tom Reynolds, said of the letter: “I’m pleased to see Mr Clarke and Ms Pow recognise the importance of public toilets as a vital part of our infrastructure. At the moment there is a shortage of public toilets and handwashing facilities, so it is time for Local and National Government to consider investing in provision. Any other course of action could prevent people from going back to town centres or leisure venues, creating a brake on the national recovery.”
I talked in a previous Leader about some of the positives to have come out of this pandemic – such as fewer planes, less traffic and less pollution. I hope one day to be able to add ‘better public toilet provision’ to the list…
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2nd July 2020