Mayor publishes guidance to make London world's most accessible city

28 October 2014

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today (Tuesday, October 28) issued detailed planning advice to ensure that London becomes the most accessible city in the world for disabled people.

Aimed predominantly at planners and developers, the Accessible London Supplementary Planning Guidance builds on the lessons learnt from hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to ensure that all new developments in the capital are built to the very highest levels of accessibility.

London is reaping the rewards from hosting the best Olympic and Paralympic Games ever with billions of pounds of inward investment, supporting economic growth and the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.

The Games also demonstrated what can be achieved when inclusive design principles are embedded into a project from the outset. The park and venues were designed with accessibility enshrined into the thinking of the designers, not just to ensure that the Paralympic athletes could excel in their sport but enabling disabled spectators, staff, volunteers, the Olympic family, the press, and visitors to the park to enjoy and participate to the same extent as non-disabled people. In a recent survey, 81 per cent of people said the Games has had a positive impact on how disabled people are viewed by the British public.

London is already one of the most accessible cities in the world and earlier this month, the Mayor confirmed plans for a £75m fund to speed up the rate at which the London Underground network is made accessible for disabled Londoners and visitors to the capital.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games were widely recognised as the most inclusive ever and one way we achieved that was through the design of the venues and the Park. I am determined that we use that experience to ensure that all new developments in London maintains this high level of accessibility - helping to change perceptions of disability and enabling disabled people to be part of our economy and fully contribute to our great city.”

The Mayor believes that people should be able to live and work in safe, healthy, supportive and inclusive neighbourhoods with which they are proud to identify. To achieve this, the Supplementary Planning Guidance advocates places that are designed to be inclusive regardless of age or disability and argues that they best promote positive community involvement. These so-called’ lifestyle neighbourhoods’ incorporate issues such as quality of transport, housing, public realm, social infrastructure and community facilities.

According to Transport for London, 22 per cent of non-disabled people regularly cycle while only nine per cent of disabled people do so. Currently, cycling accounts for only one per cent of all journeys amongst people aged 65 and older in the UK compared to 23 per cent in the Netherlands, 15 per cent in Denmark and 9 per cent in Germany. The Supplementary Planning Guidance therefore highlights the need for inclusive cycling and offers guidance on what to consider.

Investment into London’s transport network is also bringing step free access to many rail stations, all buses and black cabs and the entire DLR. All of the 30 Crossrail stations in London will also be step-free. The new neighbourhoods now being built around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will create some of the most accessible and inclusive neighbourhoods in London, and the eight Olympic venues in the park will maintain their high level of accessibility for future users.

To view the Accessible London Supplementary Planning Guidance visit


Notes to editors

Public transport accessibility: • The Mayor’s £75m fund has been put aside to enable the installation of new lifts at around a dozen more stations over the next ten years. The new stations are in addition to the 28 LU and London Rail stations which Transport for London (TfL) had previously committed to making step-free by 2024, and the 30 Crossrail stations in London that will all be step-free. • TfL expect the number of journeys made by step-free routes each year will almost treble, from 77 million at present (2014) to 227 million in 2023.

• £250 million is being invested in step-free projects at a number of key London stations including Bond Street, Greenford, Tottenham Court Road, Vauxhall, Victoria and Finsbury Park.

• 75 per cent of all London bus stops have been fully accessible since April this year and TfL are on track to reach 95 per cent by the end of 2016, bringing even greater ease of use to a bus network that is already the most accessible in the country. Inclusive design examples from London 2012

• Inclusive design legacy outcomes from London 2012 venues included a special ‘Pool Pod’ to allow people unable to use stepped access to get in and out of a swimming pool in a more dignified way. A pod was installed in the Aquatics Centre in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park when it reopened in 2014 and also in Mile End swimming pool.

• In addition, the Olympic Park designers achieved a level gradient across most of the public concourse areas. Steps and ramps were not incorporated into any of the primary circulation routes, making the park accessible for everyone.

The Accessible London Supplementary Planning Guidance supports the Further Alterations to the London Plan – the Mayor’s strategic document that sets out the future development of the city.