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Lack of street access prevents independent living, finds new DR UK survey

03 March 2022

A new survey by Disability Rights UK has found that 84% of Disabled respondents feel that there are serious issues with street accessibility in their local area,  worsened by the pandemic. These issues have had a severe impact on their mental and physical wellbeing and have limited their opportunities for social contact and to go about daily tasks.

We asked a number of multiple-choice questions and undertook a series of in-depth interviews, to understand people’s experiences of moving round their local neighbourhoods, and found that street inaccessibility led to 60% of Disabled respondents saying they were unable to ‘live independently’. 84% of respondents felt that there was an issue with street accessibility.

Disabled people reported that problems stemmed from the inadequate condition of pavements and the many obstacles including bins, hedges, street furniture and cars parked on pavements. These barriers prevented Disabled people moving freely around their local neighbourhood, making it difficult to get to shops or transport links.

One respondent said: “This affects us most times we ever leave the house, can’t get wheelchair through on the path when cars park on the kerb or block the drop-down kerbs, highly frustrating when you have to back track and find another way as well, then putting my child in danger of oncoming traffic due to others ignorance.”

Fazilet Hadi, Head of Policy at Disability Rights UK, said: “Our research confirms that there are a growing number of challenges that Disabled people have to overcome, just to get around our neighbourhoods safely and independently. Streets should be accessible to all citizens.

The survey also found that Disabled people have little confidence that authorities listen or act on complaints and feedback on the street environment.

Our message to Government is simple – act now and make streets safe and accessible to us all.”

Disability Rights UK has written to Grant Shapps Secretary of State for transport, expressing our concerns.

The full report can be accessed here.