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Assembly calls on the Mayor to help map out public toilets in London

5 July 2011

Londoners need easy access to information about all the publicly accessible toilets in the capital, a new report by the London Assembly says today.

Public Toilets in London[1] by the Assembly’s Health and Public Services Committee calls on the Mayor, GLA group, boroughs and other providers to capture information about toilet locations in an easily accessible format for the public – and has developed a tool[2] for doing this. 

The report says information on the location of public and community toilets is currently incomplete and inconsistent and the toilets themselves are poorly advertised. 

There are now only 401 local-authority maintained public toilets – a loss of around one fifth[3] in the last decade - with some boroughs no longer providing any facilities.  Public toilet provision has been supplemented by community toilet schemes[4] operated by 358 businesses across 13 boroughs[4], which the report welcomes.   

To further boost provision in the capital, the report calls on the Mayor to push Crossrail to revise their plans, which currently provide no toilets in the new build stations, which will be fully accessible to disabled people.  The Mayor has already suggested that there will be no facilities on board Crossrail trains, which may heighten demand for station toilets among passengers.

More broadly, the report asks the Mayor to direct the GLA group[5] to allow the public to use their toilets, wherever possible, and urges boroughs to include places like libraries and town halls in community toilet schemes.

Victoria Borwick AM, Chair of the Health and Public Services Committee, said:

“Public toilets are a vital service for Londoners and visitors, and access to them will become especially important with the extra visitors expected for the 2012 Games.  However, people need to know where these toilets are before they are able to use them. 

“While we support the work already done by the Mayor to encourage businesses to open up their toilets to the public, we believe he is in a unique position to use his policies and powers of influence to boost provision and access. 

“We are very disappointed that none of the Crossrail stations in London will have toilet facilities. This is a missed opportunity as the scheme offers an ideal and cost-effective chance to increase the numbers of toilets in the capital, especially for disabled users.” 

The Committee published its first report on public toilets five years ago.[7]

Notes for Editors:

  1. Read the report.
  2. See the standard open data format
  3. The number of local authority-maintained public toilets fell from 486 in 2000 to 419 in 2004.
  4. Local businesses are paid by the borough to allow non-customers to use their toilets during opening hours.
  5. See the table for information about the size of community toilet schemes in particular boroughs
  6. The GLA group is made up of Transport for London, Metropolitan Police Authority, London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, London Development Agency and the Greater London Authority, itself, at City Hall.
  7. See the Committee’s 2006 report An Urgent Need: the states of London’s public toilets
  8. The Chair of the Health and Public Services Committee, Victoria Borwick AM, is available for interview.  See contact details below.
  9. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Lisa Moore / Julie Wheldon on 020 7983 4228/4283.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.