15 August 2017
VISION 2020 UK is dedicated to the proposition that accessible environments are key to independence. However integrated accessibility, between different areas of the public realm is a non-negotiable. You could have an incredibly accessible building next to inaccessible transport links. VISION 2020 UK considers accessibility as a wide concept that includes the prevention and elimination of obstacles that pose problems for persons with disabilities in using products, services and infrastructures.
The Built Environment requirements of Equality legislation have been around for over 11 years (the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 came into force on 02/12/16 and the DDA’s requirements were subsequently merged into the Equality Act 2010). There are clear signs that new buildings are getting more physically accessible but the rate of progress is still too slow. There is also far too little progress being made around the maintenance and installation of additional access equipment such as induction loops for hearing impaired customers. Too often accessibility is interpreted as meaning wheelchair access, important of course, but excludes proper consideration of other arrangements such as priority seating, better design for visually impaired people and better signage for people with cognitive impairments. Nor should we ignore the fact that just like everybody else the population with disabilities is ageing. This means that even if our access needs are around physical access over time provision will need to be made that takes account of multiple impairment.
We applaud the progress that has been made to date. This has been achieved through honest endeavour across a range of sectors and means that in many respects UK offers some of the most accessible environments globally.
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