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The Equality Act logo 2010

The Equalities Act & Street Furniture – Overview

Marshalls plc ammonite logo
Friday 2nd March, 2018

DDA Guidance Part 1:  Overview This 6 part guide serves as the Woodhouse knowledge base of how we interpret the DDA guidelines and therefore adapt the design of our street furniture for the most progressively inclusive public spaces. Originally partly prepared through my role as a member of the technical comittee of the the Landscape Institute and partly as Woodhouse continue to consult with clients, charities and landscape architects on the subject of the DDA. The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA) In light of this legislation, the design of street furniture elements for people with sight or mobility impairments needs to be carefully considered to ensure it is ‘fit for purpose’.  The DDA makes it unlawful for a provider of services to discriminate against a disabled person by making it unreasonably difficult for the disabled person to use a service.  Although this responsibility may ultimately lie with the client (a Local Authority for instance), it is still our duty to take ‘reasonable’ steps and modifications to make products that are suitable for all to use. Other useful documents:

  • BS8300:2001 ‘Design of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people’ - Code of Practice provides guidance on good design practice so that facilities are convenient to use by disabled people.
  • ‘Inclusive Mobility by Philip Oxley - Publication issued by the Department of Transport.
  • Inclusive Mobility – A Guide to Best Practice on Access to Pedestrian and Transport Infrastructure 2002.
  • TFL Streetscape guidance.

In general, these guidelines have no legal status and compliance with them should not be regarded as full compliance with the DDA.   However, there is information available on established best practice that can be applied to our products. Common Disability Issues The term disability is a broad one. It includes people with physical, sensory or mental impairment; at a conservative estimate between 12 and 13 per cent of the population have some degree of impairment and many face barriers to movement in the environment.  In addition, there are many other people not conventionally considered to have a disability but encounter mobility problems eg people with small children, people carrying heavy shopping or luggage, people with temporary accident injuries and older people can all benefit from good design of the pedestrian and transport environment. While it is true that there are many aspects of design in the pedestrian environment that are helpful to all or most disabled people (and many able bodied too) there are also some specific facilities needed by people with a particular kind of impairment. Locomotion This category includes people who use wheelchairs and those who can walk but only with difficulty and often using some form of aid such as a stick or walking frame. Approaching 70% of disabled people have locomotion difficulties: those with walking difficulties outnumber wheelchair users by about 10:1. Sight Can be sub-divided into blind and partially sighted people. It is estimated that there are almost two million people in Great Britain with a significant sight loss. Hearing Can also be sub-divided into those who are profoundly deaf and those with impaired hearing, ranging from severe to mild deafness. The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) estimates that there are over eight million deaf or hard of hearing people in the UK of whom approaching 700,000 are severely or profoundly deaf. Reaching, stretching and dexterity Frequently as a result of advanced age and/or arthritis, which can make movements painful and difficult, or of muscular dystrophy (causing a loss of muscular strength), or complaints of the nervous system. Learning disabilities Making it hard to understand complicated information or to use complex machines (some ticket machines). It should be remembered that these categories are not mutually exclusive. Many disabled people, particularly older people, have more than one impairment.  Also, although it is not possible to consider the needs of every individual using the public realm, it should be recognised that a solution for one group of users may not assist another: rarely does one solution suit all.


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