Posted: Fri 23rd Feb 2024

Welsh Government urged to help save public toilets from closure

North Wales news and information

Calls have been made for the Welsh Government to take action to help ensure public toilets are maintained.

With many councils are reported to be looking to close public toilets in a bid to save money, Clwyd West MS Darren Millar is urging ministers to place “statutory obligations” on local authorities.

He said the move would ensure that there are minimum access standards for public conveniences.

The Welsh Conservative politician’s calls came after a survey on public toilets was published by the Wales Seniors Forum.

In the study, 59 per cent of people said that a lack of public toilets would mean they wouldn’t go out or would limit how long they spent away from their home.

Around 11 per cent also said that the absence of toilets would cause them panic, desperation, or distress.

Asking for a ministerial statement on the issue in the Senedd this week, Mr Millar said: “Access to loos is really important, particularly for older people, those with disabilities and people who might need to use them as a changing room or as a baby-changing facility.

“Unfortunately, the facts are that over half of our public conveniences have closed since the 2010s, and, even though we had an opportunity to address this issue with the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017 that we passed as a Senedd a number of years ago, there still isn’t a legal obligation on local authorities to ensure that they have a sufficient network of public conveniences.

“Can I call for a statement from the Deputy Minister with responsibility for public health, to ensure that this is an issue that the Welsh Government shines a spotlight onto?”

In response, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for North Wales, said: “I think the member raises a very important point, for the reasons he highlighted.

“I think it’s really important that the work continues to ensure that, where there are public toilets – whether that be in a shop or a restaurant – they’re able to be used in the absence of toilets that have been closed, unfortunately, mainly due to budget pressures.”

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