Building for Equality: Disability and the Built Environment Contents


184.We began this report by outlining the many and varied examples of disabling barriers that our witnesses told us that they experienced. We have examined the various stages of law and policy through which the Government can, and should, be expected to address these barriers: from high level leadership and strategy, thorough detailed local planning and decision making and onto the kind of minimum standards that, as a society, we should be able to expect.

185.There are record numbers of disabled people in work, and disabled people have the right to participate in all parts of life under the law. This is undermined if the built environment locks them out.

186.Throughout our work, a few key themes have struck us. Firstly, the Equality Act 2010 is not having the kind of impact that it was expected to have. The Government has left change to be achieved through a model of enforcement that relies on litigation by private individuals who, by definition, have already been placed at a disadvantage by the situation or actions that they are seeking to challenge.

187.This brings us to the second theme: there is a real need for a proactive, concerted, effort on the part of ‘mainstream’ systems and structures—be that national and local government or the professionals responsible for creating and changing our built environment—to take seriously the challenge of creating an inclusive environment.

188.Our current, all-too-often inaccessible, built environment was not created overnight, and will not be mended overnight, but those with the influence to do so have had over twenty years since the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act first set out the standards expected of them. We believe that this report sets out a realistic but challenging agenda that, if adopted by the Government, can make this issue a priority again and deliver the change that disabled people, and society, need if our laws on disability discrimination are to have the impact that was intended when they were passed over 20 years ago.

24 April 2017