A new round of funding to improve accessibility at service areas has been launched as the government revealed the successful applicants from the first round.
The Department for Transport (DfT), in partnership with Muscular Dystrophy UK (MDUK), announced that 22 motorway service areas had been successful in their bid for a share of government funding for Changing Places toilets.
A second round of funding is now being launched, this time extended to include A roads, with operators of service stations on these routes, as well as on motorways, invited to bid.
A quarter of a million people with disabilities cannot use standard accessible toilets and need access to Changing Places facilities, which have more space and equipment.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “In a modern country, everyone should be able to travel. Despite improvements in some areas, we need our roadside services to be better for the quarter of a million people who cannot use standard accessible toilets.
“This is why we would like to go even further by extending this to the trunk road network. I encourage as many operators as possible to apply for funding, to open up our road network to everyone who wants to use it.”
Accessibility minister Nusrat Ghani said: “I am delighted to be awarding nearly £750,000 to bring Changing Places toilets to 22 more service stations, helping ensure that everyone can use our roads easily and comfortably.
“This is one of the commitments set out in our Inclusive Transport Strategy, an ambitious piece of work to complement the UN’s sustainable development goals – helping make the world more inclusive for disabled people.
“However, we know there is more to do which is why we are working hard on ensuring our wider transport network – not just roads, but railways, buses, aeroplanes and ferries too – is open to all.”
The DfT’s £2m partnership with MDUK was announced last November to bring Changing Places toilets to more motorway service areas.
The fund was launched in April and motorway service area operators submitted their proposals for 50% funding support for specific new Changing Places toilet installations, which are expected to be ready by the early 2020s.
Catherine Woodhead, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, which co-chairs the Changing Places Consortium, said: “Too many disabled people and their families are excluded from doing things that others take for granted because there are not enough Changing Places. We’re delighted that, thanks to the DfT’s funding, 22 service stations will be installing these facilities.
“This will make it easier for a quarter of a million people to go on holiday, enjoy a day out with friends, or simply visit the shops.
“We won’t stop campaigning until every service station in the country has a Changing Places toilet, and we would encourage businesses who haven’t done so already to apply for funding in the next round of applications.”