The Department for Transport (DfT) has circulated new guidance that encourages local authorities not to remove kerbs as part of shared space schemes.
The guidance, entitled Access for Blind People in Towns, has been published by the National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFBUK) but the DfT circulated it in December 2013, with a cover note saying it should be read in conjunction with the Department’s own guidance documents,
Manual for Streets, and Local Transport Note 1 / 11 Shared Space. Manual for Streets noted that the removal of a conventional kerb posed problems for visually impaired people and said it was important that schemes therefore included ‘an alternative means for visually-impaired people to navigate by’.
The NFBUK’s guidance states: ‘No DfT guidance is given on this matter, so in many shared spaces this instruction has not been implemented, resulting in people with visual impairments being frightened to use these areas, even though they may have walked these same streets for many years before they were rebuilt.
The guidance says the public sector equality duty of the Equality Act 2010 places an obligation on local authorities across the UK to ensure streets and public areas are accessible to everyone.
Asked if the DfT was endorsing the content of the guidance, a DfT spokesman referred LTT to the guidance’s cover note, which says the document should be read in conjunction with the Department’s own guidance documents.
For further information, visit the NFBUK website