COMMONS

Disability and the built environment: what are the priorities?

25 October 2016

In 2011, the UK Census found that around 11.5 million people (18% of the population) had a long-term health problem or disability that limited their day-to-day activities either a lot or a little. Such issues can impact the accessibility of homes, buildings and public spaces.

Purpose of the session

In the first evidence session of this inquiry, the Women and Equalities Committee aims to identify the key issues and priorities for disabled people relating to the built environment. Areas likely to be covered include:

  • What more needs to be done if the supply of accessible housing is to keep up with demand?
  • How responsive is the rental market to the needs of disabled people?
  • What impact do barriers in the built environment have on disabled people's access to work?
  • How well do local authorities plan for accessible public spaces?

The session will also explore whether the current legal and regulatory framework is adequate and effective for securing accessibility: where are the gaps? How could it be made more effective?

The Committee will hear from two panels: the first will be a group of disabled people's organisations, and the second made up of experts in accessibility standards, including the building regulations, the Equality Act and the British Standards.

Last week, the Committee published more than 100 written evidence submissions on the subject. Some of the concerns raised include: a lack of accessible housing; a lack of accessible public toilets; access to public buildings and open spaces; and the layout of the urban street scene, including shared spaces.

Witnesses

Wednesday 26 October, Thatcher Room, Portcullis House

At 9.30am 

  • Sue Bott, Deputy Chief Executive, Disability Rights UK
  • Zara Todd, Community Activities Manager, Equal-Lives and Chair, Inclusion London
  • Jolie Goodman, Manager and Lead Facilitator, Mental Health Foundation

At 10.30am

  • Martin McConaghy, Member of the National Council and Chair of Northern Region, The Access Association
  • David Petherick, Chairman, British Standards Institute
  • Chris Fry, Solicitor and Managing Partner, Unity Law

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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