Council should flush toilet plans, say Greens
Highlands and Islands Green MSP John Finnie and Badenoch and Strathspey Councillor Pippa Hadley have called for plans to close a host of public conveniences across the Highlands to be scrapped.
The Highland Council will debate a report recommending the closure of public toilets throughout the area today (25 Oct 2018).
The Scottish Green Party is opposed to these closures as;
· They present considerable public health and public decency concerns, which the council has failed to discuss with NHS Highland and Police Scotland.
· They will result in the loss of jobs, and the jobs of those who remain will be impacted. Furthermore the council has not yet consulted all the affected employees.
· While the report states that 90% of the population lives within 15 minutes of a publicly available toilet, this fails to take into account the needs of remote communities, popular tourist destinations and the long journeys required to access important services such as hospital appointments.
· The council’s equalities impact assessment identifies negative impacts for older people, people with disabilities and pregnant women.
For these reasons Councillor Hadley will oppose these proposals at the council meeting.
Commenting, Councillor Hadley said:
“The proposals to close a considerable number of public toilets in the Highlands would present considerable challenges for the communities affected. The plans fail to take account of remote and rural communities, they don’t consider the long journeys many have to make to access NHS services, and they completely discount any impact on tourism.
“The council’s equalities impact assessment also highlighted a number of significant negative impacts and it is important that these are adequately addressed, the report completely fails to do so and it is for these reasons that I will be opposing the plans.”
Mr Finnie added:
“It is galling that despite all that has been said, including in the Highland Council’s own equalities impact assessment, about the negative impact of these closures, the proposals are still being presented.
“The impact on jobs, with both redundancies and reorganisation expected, seem to have been largely overlooked, and the council has not yet engaged on a one to one basis with all the employees affected. This is a disgrace, and a complete abdication of responsibility from an organisation which should be setting an example to others in the region on good practice.
“Highland Council has made a complete mess of this whole sorry affair. It is quite staggering that the council didn’t, for instance, take tourism into account, given its huge importance to the economy of the region. I am pleased that the council has finally acknowledged some of its own ineptitude in this report. Councillors should go one step further and vote along with my colleague, Councillor Hadley, to reject this outrageous proposal.”