Blind and partially sighted campaigners to meet with Lothians MSP Jeremy Balfour to discuss street obstacles

Post date: 
Monday, 29 April 2019
Category: 
Scotland

95 per cent of people with sight loss surveyed by the charity RNIB had collided with an obstacle in the street in a three-month period.

Catriona Burness, parliamentary and campaigns manager for RNIB Scotland, said: "Collisions can dent people's confidence and make them less likely to venture out. RNIB campaigns for safer streets, including a reduction in clutter to create a streetscape that blind and partially sighted people can navigate safely and independently.

"Our members have also complained about bollards, bins and pavement-parking among the all too common obstacles they encounter outdoors."

People with sight loss at the meeting will also underline their support for Edinburgh City Council's ban on advertising boards. The ban came into effect last October for a 12-month period to assess its effectiveness after groups such as RNIB Scotland highlighted the problems street clutter posed for many people with disabilities.

"We have very much welcomed this move to make the capital's streets safer and more inclusive for all residents and visitors with disabilities," said Ms Burness.

Jeremy Balfour said: “We must make our pavements as accessible as possible and I want to find out more about what can be done to achieve this.”

RNIB Scotland is pressing Edinburgh City Council to extend the ban after the pilot-period and urging other local authorities to follow suit. It is also calling on the Scottish Government to strengthen existing legislation. It points out that the Equality Act 2010 requires public authorities to take reasonable steps to enable disabled people to avoid substantial disadvantages caused by physical features.

Over 170,000 people in Scotland live with a significant level of sight loss.