Prostate Cancer: Public Lavatories

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 6 June 2023.

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Photo of Damien Moore Damien Moore Conservative, Southport

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will take steps to encourage the placement of sanitary bins in men’s public restrooms for the use of those affected by prostate cancer.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities manages Building Regulations and Approved Documents for provision of toilets in publicly accessible buildings, but powers in the Building Act 1984 and the Building Regulations 2010 cannot require sanitary bins in men’s toilets. Defra oversees policy and legislation with respect to the safe management of waste and of litter. However, Defra has no powers to compel the provision of sanitary bins as the maintenance of public toilets is usually a matter for the relevant local authority, and I would encourage the hon. Member to raise the issue locally. Councils have a duty to make arrangements for the regular emptying and cleansing of any litter bins that they provide or maintain. They also have the power to clean and empty litter bins provided in any street or public place. The emptying of litter bins must be sufficiently frequent to ensure that no such litter bin or its contents becomes a nuisance or gives reasonable grounds for complaint.

Where public sanitary bins are provided in local authority provided toilets, the relevant local authority must ensure that bins are managed in accordance with the relevant waste legislation, including the Waste Duty of Care, and are responsible for the maintenance and repair of public toilets. Sewer blockages can lead to flooding inside homes and businesses and are expensive to clear.  There are measures in current water industry legislation to protect drains and sewers from damage due to misuse including pouring damaging substances down drains and sewers. Damaging these infrastructures is an offence punishable by a fine or, in more serious cases, imprisonment for a maximum of two years.

Provision of healthcare services and how they should be managed is the policy responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care.

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