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Blog MHCLG in the Media


This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Single-sex toilets announcement coverage

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Planning

Generic image of a toilet

There was widespread coverage earlier this week of the laying of a law to require every new, non-residential building to have single-sex toilets, as well as a fully enclosed universal toilet if space allows. This means amending building regulations so that new offices, restaurants, hospitals and other non-residential buildings have single-sex toilets to ensure privacy, dignity, and safety for all.

The Telegraph covered the announcement on its front page and published a comment piece from Minister Rowley, who explained the new legislation and the Government’s aim to offer support, compassion and dignity to everyone across our society. The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Daily Express, The Guardian, The Times, Sky News, and BBC Online all reported on the changes.

Meanwhile on the airwaves, Women’s Health Minister Maria Caulfield appeared on Sky, ITV, and LBC on Monday, highlighting that this new law is an important issue for women.

Women were among those who expressed concern via a government consultation on toilets last year. They said they felt unfairly disadvantaged as publicly accessible toilets are increasingly being converted into gender neutral facilities where users share cubicle and hand-washing facilities. This leads to increasing waiting in shared queues, decreased choice and less privacy and dignity.

Changes to building regulations will ensure that:

  • separate single-sex toilets facilities are provided for men and women
  • self-contained, universal toilets may be provided in addition to single-sex toilets, where space allows
  • self-contained universal toilets may be provided instead of single-sex toilets only where lack of space reasonably precludes provision of single-sex toilet accommodation

Housing Minister Lee Rowley said:

We know all members of society value safety, privacy and dignity, and this new legislation will help ensure the right facilities are in place for everyone.

It is vital that new buildings, particularly in public spaces, are serving the community with right toilet provision.

Minister for Women and Equalities Kemi Badenoch said:

These regulations will guide organisations to design unisex and single-sex toilets, ending the rise of so-called “gender-neutral” mixed sex toilet spaces, which deny privacy and dignity to both men and women.

Today’s announcement will also create better provision for women so that our particular biological, health and sanitary needs are met.

This is following our work last week limiting the use of mixed-sex wards in the NHS and demonstrates how this government is committed to ensuring single-sex spaces are protected for all.


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