Campaigners call for law to keep public toilets open

Campaigners say Welsh Government must protect public toilets Photo: ITV News Wales

More than half of the people in Wales think the Welsh Government should take action to open or keep open public toilets.

The report published today by the Welsh Senate of Older People, is the latest part of the group's 'P is for People' campaign.

Clearly there is strong public feeling about the need to have access to toilets in communities across Wales.

Over half the 799 people we surveyed felt the Welsh Government needs to take more action to protect our existing network of toilets and to find ways of opening more toilets.

The British Toilet Association estimates that 40 per cent of our public toilets have disappeared over the last ten years.

As local authorities are not obliged to provide public toilets, we feel this is contributing to the disappearance of public toilets across the country.

This is why the Welsh Senate of Older People wants the Welsh Government to put a law in place that forces local authorities to provide public toilets.

– John Vincent, Welsh Senate of Older People spokesperson

The 'Public Toilet Provision Research' survey also shows:

  • 85 per cent of respondents said they would pay a small fee (20p) to use a public toilet
  • 80 per cent of respondents said that if the public toilet they used most was not available, it would have an impact on their lifestyle
  • 19 per cent of respondents said not having a public toilet would mean they were able to go out less often or that they wouldn't go out at all
  • 18 per cent of respondents said the absence of public toilets would be 'difficult, awkward, inconvenient or stressful'
  • 18 per cent of respondents feel action is needed to keep current public toilets clean and combat vandalism

Older people's charity Age Cymru has welcomed the publishing of the Welsh Senate of Older People's toilet report.

Public toilets are a lifeline for older people, providing them with freedom, independence and the confidence they need to lead fulfilling and active lives.

"Yet despite this, public toilets are disappearing from our communities at an alarming rate and assertive action is needed to halt this decline.

Age Cymru supports the Welsh Senate of Older People's 'P is for People' campaign and backs the call for a new law to compel local authorities to provide public toilets in the communities that they serve

– Graeme Francis, Age Cymru's Head of Policy and Public Affairs

The Welsh Government says councils don't have to provide them but its working with them to increase the number.

While the provision of public toilets in Wales is a matter for local authorities there is no statutory requirement for them to provide these facilities.

However, the Welsh Government is working with local authorities to increase the number of public toilets across Wales by providing funding for them to offer grants of up £500 to local businesses that are willing to open their toilets to the general public.

To date, over 280 organisations have joined the Public Facilities Grant Scheme

– Welsh Government spokesperson