We’ve all been there – having to discreetly nip into a shop or pub and use the loos after being caught short, but one campaign wants local businesses to open their facilities up to the public.
‘Use Our Loos’ - run by the British Toilet Association and Domestos - is encouraging restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes and shops to open their doors to let members of the public spend a penny even if they’re not a customer.
It says there is a massive shortage of public loos because the number has dropped by more than a third over two decades thanks to a shortage of funding. Businesses can sign up to the scheme and display a ‘Use Our Loos’ sign to show passers by they have an open door policy.
UK councils are not required to provide public toilets and the average council runs only around 15, according to the campaign. Some local areas are without a single free-to-use public toilet, which can present a challenge, especially for parents with young children or those with medical conditions.
“We know that councils are under immense pressure with their budgets and despite having no legal obligation to maintain these public facilities, they have continued to try to halt the rapid rate of decline,” Raymond Martin, director of the British Toilet Association, said.
“They are constantly looking at alternative ideas. Use Our Loos is a community-oriented solution not about opening more public toilets but making more toilets public that already exist.”
Members of the public can access a list of all public toilets via the Great British Public Toilet Map, which uses data to plot 11,300 publicly available toilets across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Use Our Loos participating businesses will be added to the map.