The report explores the dire state of the UK’s public conveniences, the impact this has on health and wellbeing, and public perceptions of what should be done.
In recent decades an increasing pressure on local authority budgets has led to the privatisation or closure of many public toilets. The report sheds light on the health burden of this declining public toilet provision, which falls disproportionately on people with ill health or disability, the elderly, women, outdoor workers, and the homeless. For example, fear of or knowledge of a lack of facilities nearby can tie people to within a small distance of their home, acting as a ‘loo leash’ for many.
Failure to provide adequate public loos directly hampers some of the UK’s wider public health efforts, such as curbing obesity, and keeping our increasingly elderly population physically active and socially engaged with the community.
The report also explores the public’s perceptions of public toilets – the various reasons why some choose not to use them, as well as the most common courses of action when a public facility is not immediately available.
The inadequate provision of public loos is a threat to health, mobility, and equality, and it is time these services are considered as essential as streetlights and waste collection.