A Scottish charity is calling on Highland Council to reverse public toilet cuts to help combat loneliness and isolation.
Age Scotland is urging Scotland’s largest local authority to safeguard public amenities, claiming the the closures are having a serious impact on quality of life.
In a letter to the council, they asked officials to make toilet provision a budget priority, to prevent further closures and to secure funding for maintenance to existing facilities.
It also wants the council to identify how the number of toilets could be increased.
Brian Sloan, the charity’s chief executive, said: “While many are quite rightly standing up for sanitation in the developing world, we are urging Highland Council to look closer to home and ensure the retention of public toilets.
“We know from speaking to older people that clean, accessible public toilets are absolutely essential for many to be able to enjoy a decent quality of life.
They help older people with certain medical conditions and incontinence to live as normal a life as possible, being able to travel and interact with services and the local economy”
A total of 29 toilets were earmarked for closure by the Highland Council in the latest round of cuts, though a number have been reprieved following public petitions, including Achmelvich, Rhiconich, Scourie, Smoo Cave and Tarbet.
Mr Sloan added: “We recognise that budgets are tight, but we believe the council should consider the wider impact of public toilet closures on physical and mental health.
“Many councils are already using creative solutions, such as partnerships with local businesses, to increase provision.”
Highland councillor Allan Henderson said: “The Highland Council provides the largest suite of toilets in the UK and along with partners still has around 200 units in service all year round.”