Live updates

Charity: Tourist sites 'not taking accessibility seriously'

A disability charity which has found that only one third of top UK tourist sites are wheelchair accessible said tourist attractions are not taking the issue seriously.

Wheelchair sign
A disability charity has found that only one third of top UK tourist sites are wheelchair accessible. Credit: PA Wire

Vitalise's chief executive Chris Simmonds said: "The results of our survey show too many of Britain's tourist attractions are not taking accessibility seriously. That has got to improve."

These venues need to work just as hard on how they communicate essential accessibility information to people with disabilities. Our own research shows two thirds of disabled people decide against visiting attractions because of a lack of clear information about how accessible it is.

– Chris Simmonds, Vitalise

Vitalise, which provides short breaks for disabled people and their carers, asked 100 tourist destinations to provide information about their accessibility. Two thirds of those who replied admitted they were not fully accessible.

Read: Just one third of UK tourist attractions are wheelchair accessible

'Two thirds of UK tourist sites not wheelchair accessible'

Just one third of the UK's top tourist attractions are fully wheelchair accessible, a disability charity has found.

Wheelchair
Just one third of the UK's top tourist attractions are fully wheelchair accessible. Credit: PA Wire

Vitalise, which provides short breaks for disabled people and their carers, asked the top 100 tourist destinations as rated by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions to provide information about their accessibility, receiving just 52 replies.

Of those, 33 were admitted they were not fully accessible to wheelchair users, while 13 had no disabled car parking spaces and the same number did not advertise the information on their websites.

Advertisement

Councils using new powers to seize blue badges

The Local Government Association has said that Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Plymouth Council and Hull City Council recently secured their first prosecutions against fraudsters. Manchester City Council has a 100% conviction rate with more than 500 prosecutions in the past five years.

It is shocking how low some people are stooping in order to con a few hours of free parking, including using a dead relative's blue badge or leaving a disabled parent trapped in their home.

Councils are determined to do everything in their power to protect the quality of life for our disabled and vulnerable residents.

– Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's economy and transport board

Councils are also using new powers to seize and confiscate badges suspected of being used illegally and some have set up specific enforcement teams to tackle blue badge fraud.

Blue badge fraud prosecutions 'double' in three years

The number of prosecutions for Blue badge fraud have doubled in three years, with professional people such as lawyers and architects among the offenders.

Unscrupulous fraudsters have been caught using a dead relative's pass or leaving a disabled parent stuck at home in order to park for free to go shopping or travel to work, said the Local Government Association (LGA) .

Blue badge fraud has doubled. Credit: PA

There were 686 successful council prosecutions in 2013 - up from 330 in 2010 as councils cracked down on offenders.

More than two million disabled people use blue badges for free parking in pay-and-display bays and parking for up to three hours on yellow lines through the nationwide scheme. In London, badge-holders are exempt from the congestion charge.

Awkwardness around disability 'the way of the world'

Awkwardness around disability is "just the way of the world" sometimes and is not necessarily "borne of ignorance", a leading campaigner told Good Morning Britain.

Alex Brooker explained: "I don't think that awkwardness around disability, necessarily, is borne out of ignorance. I think actually it is the opposite. I think sometimes you are awkward because you want make someone feel comfortable."

66% of Brits 'uncomfortable' talking to disabled people

Over half of the British public admitted to feeling awkward or uncomfortable talking to a disabled person because they are worried they may say something offensive by mistake, a survey has found.

Disability charity Scope, who are behind the survey, revealed young people were more likely to feel awkward around the disabled.

Prosthetic leg
Almost half of Brits do not know anyone disabled, the Scope survey suggests. Credit: PA Wire

One fifth of 18-34 year olds went so far as to admit they had avoided to talking to a disabled person because they were unsure how to communicate with them.

Nearly half of the British public (43%) said they do not personally know anyone who is disabled.

However, 33% said getting to know someone in a wheelchair or an amputee would make them feel more confident when meeting a disabled person.

Advertisement

Disabled access: clubs 'hampered' by age of stadiums

Football clubs have responded to calls for better disabled access by stressing the difficulty of improving "historic" stadiums.

Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning said that in many clubs the level of support and space for disabled people was breaking the law.

But Chelsea Football Club said "like many other clubs with older grounds we are hampered with the age and layout of Stamford Bridge", adding that they were consulting architects on possible improvements.

Chelsea's Stamford bridge
Chelsea's Stamford bridge holds only 47% of the number of wheelchair space required. Credit: PA

Fulham, another club to fall short of the levels required, said they accommodate "as many wheelchair users as possible within the confines of an historic stadium", and that a proposed redevelopment would help improve the situation.

Lack of disabled access at stadiums 'illegal'

The level of access for disabled people in may football stadiums is illegal, the Minister of State for Disabled People has said.

Mike Penning has called for a "complete overhaul of grounds and of how disabled fans are supported".

Last month it was revealed that only three premier league stadiums provide the number of wheelchair spaces required.

'Woeful' access for disabled people at football stadiums

There is a "woeful" lack of appropriate support and space for disabled spectators at many football stadiums across the country, the Minister of State for Disabled People has said.

Minister of State for Disabled People Mike Penning
Fulham's Craven Cottage stadium has only 24% of the number of wheelchair spaces required, the lowest out of any Premier League club. Credit: ITN

Mike Penning has written to every professional club in the country to remind them of their legal obligations.

Football clubs are required by law to provide adequate room and adjustments for disabled fans.

Load more updates

Advertisement

Today's top stories