The technical consultation is now open, and will close on 8 October. Any changes will affect England only.
Minister for women and equalities Kemi Badenoch said: ‘It is important that everybody has privacy and dignity when using public facilities. Yet the move towards “gender-neutral” toilets has removed this fundamental right for women and girls.
‘These proposals will ensure every new building in England is required to provide separate male and female or unisex facilities, and publish guidance to explain the difference, protecting the dignity, privacy and safety of all.’
Parliamentary undersecretary for faith and communities Jane Scott said: ‘These proposals will mean separate toilets for men and women, as well as self-contained toilets for those that need them, become a requirement for every new building across England.’
Conservative MP Caroline Nokes, who chairs Parliament’s Women and Equalities Committee, has previously argued that schools should have gender-neutral toilets to be ‘inclusive’ and to stop trans and non-binary students being ‘incorrectly gendered’.
Following the latest announcement, Nokes told Pink News: ‘What matters most when it comes to toilets is design. I always point at Portcullis House in Parliament which has bathrooms on every floor, nobody refers to them as gender-neutral bathrooms – they are just bathrooms.
‘If you have lavatory facilities that are each self-contained units, with their own wash basin and hand drier, and wall-to-ceiling walls and doors, and men remember to put the seat down, there really is nothing to complain about.’