§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what reports he has made, under section 7 of the Disabled Persons Act 1981, on improvements of access provision for people with disabilities, since the Act was first introduced.
§ Mr. Yeo
No such reports have been made.
As an alternative to implementing section 6 of the Disabled Persons Act 1981, new building regulations were laid before Parliament on 2 April 1985. These became operational in August 1985. They required that new offices, shops, single-storey factories, educational and public buildings should be made accessible to disabled people.
Further building regulations were laid before Parliament on 20 August 1987 recasting these requirements into functional form. At the same time, an approved document giving practical solutions for meeting the access requirements was published.
Public consultation took place earlier this year on proposals to widen the application of access requirements to all storeys in new non-domestic buildings, to certain alterations and extensions, and to introduce provisions aimed at reducing risks to people with impaired sight and helping those with impaired hearing. The results of the consultation exercise are being considered by my Department and the Building Regulations Advisory Committee. It is proposed to lay regulations before Parliament later this year, which will aim further to improve access requirements for disabled people.