North West Wales

Campaigner cycles length of Wales over lack of toilets

A councillor has cycled the length of Wales to raise awareness about what she says is a severe lack of public toilets.

After riding 153 miles from Gwynedd to Cardiff, Louise Hughes is meeting AMs to ask for an improvement.

The British Toilet Association said the number had fallen about 40% in a decade.

The Welsh Assembly Government said it is working with local councils to increase the number of public toilets.

Ms Hughes bike ride is her latest effort to highlight what she calls a backward step for "basic human dignity".

"I'm so glad I've done this and although I'm tired it's been very positive and I wanted to show that I am willing to go the extra mile on this," she said.

"People who make the decisions don't use public toilets, but for the van drivers, postmen, busmen and lorry drivers who use these facilities they are very important," she said.

Ms Hughes said one lorry driver had told her he had been fined for indecent exposure for relieving himself on the side of the road after failing to find a public toilet.

"This is to do with human dignity, ultimately," she said.

"We are in the 21st Century, yet we are going backwards, and if no toilets are available then people will improvise, and that is vile."

Ms Hughes was meeting several AMs, and said: "Who knows, my next stop might be Westminster because I'm not giving up on this."

Mike Bone from the British Toilet Association said there were no figures available for the number of public toilets in the UK, but it was estimated that around 40% had been closed in the past 10 years.

"There has been a dramatic reduction at a time when we have an increased population, more visitors.

"As the need has increased the provision has decreased," he added.

Mr Bone said Wales was the only country in the UK which promoted a scheme where private businesses allow people to use on site toilets.

"But this should not be used as an excuse to close public toilets," he added.

A spokesperson for the assembly government said the provision of public toilets was a matter for local authorities, but said officials were working together to increase the number of facilities across Wales.

"The Welsh Assembly Government is working with local authorities to increase the number public toilets across Wales by providing funding for them to offer grants of up £500 to local businesses that are willing to open their toilets to the general public," added the spokesperson.

"In the first year of the Public Facilities Grant Scheme over 130 organisations, including the Cambrian Woollen Mill in Powys and Llys Nini Animal Centre in Swansea, joined the scheme."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites