The Women and Equalities Committee’s inquiry into disability and the built environment is underway and wants to hear from as wide a range of people as possible – built environment professionals, government agencies, local government representatives, and, of course, disabled people themselves.
In this inquiry the Committee will explore the extent to which the needs of disabled people are considered and accommodated in our built environment, and ask whether more could be done to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of both new and existing properties and spaces.
The accessibility of our homes, buildings and public spaces is an issue not just for people with a permanent physical disability. With an ageing population, it is likely that more and more people will experience reduced mobility in their lifetime. There are also other needs to consider, such as mental health. Full Terms of Reference are below.
The inquiry will look at five main areas:
· Government policy on and current provision of accessible properties (including homes and commercial premises);
· The effectiveness of UK legislation, policies and standards on accessibility in the built environment;
· Design and management of the public realm;
· The role of designers, architects and built environment specialists in ensuring accessibility and inclusivity;
· Local involvement in decision-making.
Committee Chair Maria Miller said:
“This area raises some interesting questions, and there is a great deal of scope for innovation. For example: how can building information modelling and modern methods of construction, contribute to making environments more accessible and inclusive? How can we deliver greater accessibility and inclusivity alongside more age-friendly towns and cities, including liaison with the NHS? To what extent do shared space schemes in roads and highways cause barriers for disabled people and how can these be resolved? We need to ensure that buildings and public spaces are as accessible and inclusive as possible, and that communities can fully engage with the process of decision making that shapes the accessibility of the built environment.”
The Committee welcomes evidence from individuals and organisations. You can submit evidence via our web portal any time up to 12 October 2016.