Public toilets in the Highlands

Catherine has been campaigning to prevent the closure of nearly 30 public toilets in the Highlands. Today, Highland Council delayed the plans following concerns raised by local communities.

Catherine said:

“This is a welcome move by the council and I hope the closure plans will now be scrapped.
“Communities have made their strength of feeling known, and councillors must listen to local residents.
“I wrote to Highland Council calling for this short-sighted decision to be reversed after visiting Achmelvich at Easter.
“With the increasing popularity of the North Coast 500 there is an increasing number of tourists to the Highlands who require access to toilets along the route. I know there are huge cash pressures on local councils across Scotland, but cutting this vital public service is not the solution.”

Read Catherine’s original letter to the leader of Highland Council below:

19th April 2018

I have just returned from a wonderful family holiday in Achmelvich. However,
I am very concerned by the Highland Council’s plan to close 9 Rural Public Toilets in the Sutherland area including Achmelvich Public Toilets. I have signed the petition set up by locals but I also wanted to write personally to you about the Council’s decision.

With the increasing popularity of the North Coast 500 there is an increasing number of tourists to the North West Highlands who also require access to public toilet facilities along the route.

A lack of public toilets in this area will cause anxiety to anyone needing a comfort break during their travels and will also discriminate against the elderly, infirm, disabled and toddlers during the toilet training stage, who cannot do without a regular rest break during long journeys.

The closure of the Public Toilet facilities will also encourage ‘wild toileting’ which could lead to Public Health issues. I know, from speaking to local people, that they do not want the beauty and cleanliness of the area to be spoilt by ‘Wild Toileting’.

Have you proof that your proposal of suggested alternatives, as making use of facilities such as local businesses and village halls, will actually be feasible? It may be presumptuous as many businesses and village halls would only be open during core business hours and not available to those people requiring toilet facilities outside these standard times. Many businesses also only allow access to their toilet facilities to paying customers.

I would be interested to learn what processes you have planned to put in place to accommodate 24hr toilet facilities for tourists in the areas of the planned closures.

I would also like to urge you to re-think your plans to close the 9 public toilets you have designated to this fate.

I look forward to your response.

Kind regards,
Catherine Stihler MEP
Labour MEP for Scotland