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Last Updated: Friday, 30 March 2007, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
MPs call for more public toilets
Toilet
Residents frequently protest when toilets are shut down
Local councils should be forced by law to build more public toilets and better maintain the ones they have, MPs say.

Labour MP Angela Eagle says many toilets have been closed because councils did not want to deal with vandalism and other factors.

In a commons motion signed by 38 MPs, Ms Eagle said providing public toilets was a "vital public service".

Councils currently have no statutory obligation to maintain toilets and cannot charge for entry to them.

They are allowed to lease facilities to private companies who can charge for entry.

The closure of public toilets frequently prompt protests from residents, and the British Toilet Association estimated that 20% had been closed between 2000 and 2005.

Increase needed

Ms Eagle, MP for Wallasey, on Merseyside, said toilet closures had a "serious impact" on the elderly, people with disabilities and those with young families.

She said legislation was needed to place a duty on councils to maintain current toilets, but also "to work towards a steady increase in the provision of these important public amenities".

Communities minister Phil Woolas, in a speech entitled Public Toilet Provision: The Way Forward, said legislation was not the answer, although he did not rule it out.

Speaking in July 2006 to the BTA, Mr Woolas said: "We may need to look at some parts of the current legislation and its anomalies such as charging, but forcing traditional types of provision could be a backward looking step rather than a forward looking one."




SEE ALSO
A public inconvenience
27 Sep 05 |  Magazine
Public toilets 'going down pan'
09 Oct 04 |  London

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