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Has the DDA improved things for wheelchair users

It will be 10 years this October that the DDA or disability discrimination act required businesses and other organisations to make a reasonable effort to make their premises usable by disabled folk.

In essence this means that buildings that are frequented by the general public have to be fairly wheelchair friendly. This can take many forms but usually involves adding ramps, widening doorways and welcoming guide dogs so that we don't find it unnecessarily difficult to use their services. It seems that what is deemed reasonable depends mainly on the cost of the work needed in relation to the size or value of the business.

In the main I feel that this act has been taken on seriously by most. There was a noticeable flux of activity when the act was first introduced as many buildings were actively converted for disabled use. These changes were easier to implement in some cases than others. Owners of large older buildings probably found the transition the most costly. Wheelchair access has improved massively in the past few years as a result. With more electric wheelchairs in use there are more modifications being made to cater for them.
I have read of cases where wheelchair ramps have been objected to in older buildings. English heritage have made several protests along these lines. It is for these reasons that some venues are slow to adopt the legislation. Recent figures show that a survey of 52 of Britain's 100 busiest tourist attractions show that two-thirds (63%) were not fully wheelchair accessible. A quarter had no parking spaces for disabled cars. These figures are care the charity Vitalise.

Let's hope that peoples understanding of the needs of the UK's 10 million disabled people is improved and that more wheelchair access is provided.

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