Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Public toilets could be completely gone by 2029 in one borough

Data shows public toilets are in decline across London, with one borough forecast to have none left in just five years.

Data collected by plumbing company Victorian Plumbing – using freedom of information requests – shows Hammersmith and Fulham are on track to have no public toilets by 2029.

Lewisham and Merton follow close behind with rates of decline suggesting that the boroughs will have lost their public toilets by 2039. 

Brenna Ryan at Victorian Plumbing, said: “It may seem like a trivial thing to worry about, but the dwindling number of public toilets speaks to a broader issue of societal neglect.

“Every year, the numbers decrease, and with it, so does our promise of a basic human right: the right to sanitation. It’s not just about answering nature’s call, but about upholding the dignity of everyone, irrespective of age, gender, or social status.

“When people are left with no options, they resort to methods that are detrimental to our environment, our health, and our shared spaces. 

This follows a London wide trend that has seen the capital lose more than a third of its public toilets in just over two decades.

In 2000 there were around 6,087 public toilets in the UK, this has now plummeted to just 3,990 in the last decade. And if trends continue, public toilets will be completely extinct by 2105.

Victorian Plumbing has started a petition to keep public toilets that has reached 2143 signatures so far.

Last year, Age UK London released a report that showed 81 per cent of Londoners are disappointed by the lack of public toilets in their borough and 90 per cent of people consider whether a public toilet will be available when they leave home.

Mr Ryan said: “This isn’t just a cleanliness issue, it’s a severe public health concern. We are inadvertently transforming our streets into breeding grounds for bacteria and diseases.

“Beyond the obvious health implications, the absence of public toilets affects a vulnerable portion of our society more profoundly. 

“The reduction of public toilets forces many to think twice before leaving their homes. 

“This diminishes the quality of life and pushes them towards isolation.”

Lewisham council declined to comment and Hammersmith and Fulham council have been approached for comment.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesman said: “We expect councils to provide public toilets for their communities – they are best placed to decide where they are needed.

 “We recently announced up to £30.5million funding to local authorities in England to boost the number of toilets for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.”

Pictured top: Public toilet in Soho (Picture: Flickr)

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