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Legal case for accessibility – London Borough taken to court by visually impaired person for using the wrong type of tactile paving at crossings

One of the most recent examples of the legal case for accessibility relates to the London Borough of Newham. The Borough decided to depart from the UK national Guidance on Tactile Paving.  A visually impaired man challenged the decision by the London Borough of Newham to ignore national guidance produced by the Department for Transport in the UK (which were developed in conjunction with Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Royal National Institute of Blind People).

The legal team for the person with a visual impairment argued that Newham was required to follow the national guidance, unless there was a good reason to depart from it. The courts in their judgement agreed, whilst acknowledging that the guidance was not binding, they did find that in this case the relevant national guidance was produced “at a high level and involved those with considerable experience and expertise in the applicable area”.

The Judge added that the obligation to follow the national guidance was buttressed by Newham’s duty under section 49(1) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (now section 149 of the Equality Act 2010). In essence, Newham were obliged to ‘promote equality of opportunity between disabled persons and other persons’.  They were also required to take account of people’s disabilities even where this involved ‘treating disabled persons more favourably that other persons’.

Click on the link to read the full article 'Decision to depart from national guidance on tactile paving "unlawful"