Caroline Russell in public toilets

News from Caroline Russell: London should be flush with free loos

29 January 2020

Londoners caught short would be offered relief if £18 million of funding for new, free public loos, proposed by Caroline Russell in an amendment to the Mayor’s budget, is released.

Three quarters of the public say there are not enough public toilets in the UK, particularly at bus stations and train stations. For people who have a more urgent need for facilities, lack of public conveniences can create a ‘loo leash’ with fears about access to a toilet leading to one in five not going out as often as they would like.

Most people expect train stations to have toilets and plan travel around that, however, at TfL stations it is mostly impossible to find a free loo. Network Rail stations in London have free facilities but not all TfL toilets are free to use.

The £18 million would make all TfL toilets free and add 32 new automatic toilets, 32 new toilet blocks including both accessible and conventional toilets, and six changing places toilets alongside new or existing accessible toilet blocks.

Caroline Russell says:

It is a disgrace that Londoners, visitors, and TfL bus and tube drivers, can’t enjoy our city without worrying about where to wee.

People who have to plan their journeys around toilets, particularly older Londoners, those with a disability or medical condition and people with children, shouldn’t have their lives limited by a lack of loos.

TfL already provides a public service, it makes sense that it should provide as many toilets as possible as part of its public purpose and service. And it certainly shouldn’t be charging people to spend a penny.

The money in the amendment put forward to the Mayor would give us world-class facilities, worthy of our world-class city.

Transport for London (TfL) does not count public toilets in their measure of what makes a ‘Healthy Street’ but states that they are, along with drinking water, ‘essential for creating streets that are inclusive to pedestrians from all walks of life’. 

Today, Green London Assembly Member Caroline Russell will put forward an amendment to the Mayor’s 2010-21 budget, focusing on six areas that would improve Londoners’ living conditions, their environment and the cost of living in and travelling around our city.

This part of the City Hall Green amendment to the Mayor’s budget is funded using £18 million from the TfL Healthy Streets budget, achieved by reallocating part of the £64 million for major TLRN projects away from the Fiveways junction program. 

Notes to editors

[1] Taking the p***, report on the serious decline of public toilets. Royal Society for Public Health, Oct 2019 http://www.btaloos.co.uk/?p=2038

[2] City Hall Greens Budget Amendment 2020-21 https://www.london.gov.uk/about-us/london-assembly/assembly-members/publications-caroline-russell/publication-caroline-russell-city-hall-greens-budget-amendment-2020-2021

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