World Toilet Day puts the need for loos in spotlight

There are just 10 toilets open to the public in Wigan, new figures have revealed.

Saturday, 19th November 2016, 8:00 am
Updated Monday, 21st November 2016, 1:27 pm
The public toilets on Princess Road in Ashton are among the 10 available for people to use in the borough

The Great British Public Toilet Map, the UK’s largest database of publicly accessible toilets, has revealed on World Toilet Day that public toilet provision in certain parts of the country is severely lacking.

Wigan has 10 toilets accessible to the public - seven run by the council, one privately owned with public access and two others, such as “customer only” toilets.

At the top of the table with 203 toilets was Cornwall, with 191 toilets in the Highlands and 108 in the City of London.

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But six councils have just four public toilets each, including nearby South Ribble, Darlington and Flintshire.

The aim of the Great British Toilet Map is to build a national open database of public toilet locations in the UK.

With the NHS stating that between 3m and 6m people in the UK experience a degree of urinary incontinence, the database can be used to help people find toilets quickly when they need them or be more confident about trips they are planning.

Gillian Kemp, founder of Truckers Toilets UK Campaign and Public Toilets UK, said: “When public toilets close down there are many health issues that can arise which affect a large proportion of the population. If we want to embrace the Government’s idea of a society that works for everyone, public toilets are a necessary requirement for our future health.

“When communities and transport systems are being built without toilet facilities, the quality of life of people who suffer continence difficulties is severely affected.

“Going to the toilet is not a luxury, nor is it a choice, and thousands of people are forced to face this reality every day.”

The data analysis, supported by the Open Data Institute, draws upon data collected by crowdsourcing, open data and Freedom of Information requests.

The project, launched in 2014, was created by the Helen Hamlyn Centre For Design at the Royal College of Art.

In the UK, there are 10,738 publicly accessible toilets, of which 8,955 (80 per cent) are council-run and 1,783 are other publicly accessible toilets (17 per cent).

The toilets not run by the public include those in train stations and supermarkets.

The average number of residents per public toilet facility is 17,354, with 72 per cent of council areas having 20,000 or fewer residents per facility.

However 18 council areas have more than 40,000 residents per facility, with Flintshire and Bury having more than 70,000 residents per facility.