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London Sight Loss Council: open letter on rental e-scooter trials

To Transport for London, London Councils, participating London Boroughs and appointed electric scooter providers

The London Electric Scooter trial

We are responding to the recently commenced electric scooter (E-scooter) trial that is set to run in selected London boroughs for the next 12months.

The London Sight Loss Council (LSLC) was established in January 2021 and our objective is to provide a platform and advocate for people living and working in the city who are blind and partially sighted. We aim to achieve this by campaigning on key issues that affect people who are blind and partially sighted in the capital and thereby seek to influence London’s stakeholders and authorities to deliver positive change. The LSLC comprises 14 members and we are representative of the diversity of the blind and partially sighted community across all regions of the city.

The LSLC believes London’s streets and pavements must provide a safe and unobstructed environment which enables all pedestrians to make their journeys with confidence and free from anxiety.

Antisocial practices such as on-pavement vehicle parking and abandoned dockless bicycles, are increasingly prevalent in London. Pavement obstructions such as these disproportionately compromise the safety of vulnerable groups including blind and partially sighted people.

It is in this context that the LSLC is keen to ensure the E-scooter trial does not introduce additional hazards for those with sensory disabilities such as visual and/or hearing impairments.

Evidence from use of E-scooters in other cities and regions suggests there is a material risk of injury and trauma to vulnerable pedestrians. While we welcome a commitment to include safety measures in the design of the operation of the trial in London, we would highlight the following risks that we are concerned may not be mitigated by the intended safeguards:

  • Conduct of e-scooter riders – The safety of pedestrians and other highway users is predominantly the responsibility of the E-scooter rider. It is not clear what credible sanctions and penalties will be in place to ensure riders do not ride on pavements and to ensure E-scooters are docked securely. We also seek assurance that sufficient resources have been secured to enforce rider misconduct during the trial;
  • E-scooter docking bays – It is essential that designated docking areas for E-scooters are located well away from pavements and pedestrian areas. Evidence from electric bicycle providers in London is unambiguous in relation to the hazards posed to blind and other disabled pedestrians. We understand the three selected providers will have responsibility for retrieving E-scooters not secured in designated docking areas, however, we would like to see detail on how this will be monitored and the regime for rectification of poor performance, including the sanctions for non compliance;
  • Obligations on E-scooter providers – We note the requirement on providers to ensure new riders complete a safety course, but it is not clear if there are minimum standards to ensure the content is of sufficient quality. For example, ensuring riders are fully aware that blind and partially sighted pedestrians may not see or hear E-scooters. There must be information exchange between the providers regarding sanctioned riders so repeat offending can be prevented. E-scooter technical specifications should include Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems (AVAS) and most visible size and format specifications for registration plates;
  • Participating London Boroughs – At the launch of the trial 10 London Boroughs have been identified in scope of the trial. It is understood boroughs have the primary input into the design of the E-scooter operation in their areas including location of docking bays, “no go” and slow zones. We therefore would appreciate detail on the engagement process for individual participating boroughs and the criteria for admitting additional boroughs into the trial;
  • Private e-scooters – Use of private scooters on public highways is illegal yet continues largely unchecked, a likely consequence of the trial is to encourage use of private E-scooters on streets and pavements. The primary trial mitigation against this appears to be a communications and awareness campaign for the first 10 -12 weeks of the trial. We believe greater communications and stronger measures will be required to dissuade private E-scooter use including additional enforcement resources; and
  • Engagement, monitoring and complaint reporting – The channels of engagement for the duration of the trial are not transparent. Similarly, accountability between London Councils, TfL and participating boroughs is unclear. There should be flexible and accessible engagement opportunities for voluntary organisations like the LSLC who have limited time and resources. We would also like to understand what data and KPIs from the trial will be made available to external stakeholders and the availability of forums for interrogating and challenging the performance of the trial. Finally, there must be a simple, accessible and well publicised complaint reporting process facilitated by TfL. This must recognise that blind and partially sighted complainants will not have information such as the e-scooter registration number or the provider concerned, photographic evidence etc.

 

We look forward to engaging with TfL, London Councils and participating London boroughs throughout the progress of the trial. In the first instance we would like to invite a representative to discuss these matters with members of the LSLC at our next meeting.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

The London Sight Loss Council

Published 14 June 2021

Albinism Awareness Day: Jonathan Huxley profile

Today is Albinism Awareness Day (13th June). Albinism is a rare inherited life-long condition that occurs worldwide across all races and ethnic backgrounds. In the UK it is thought that Albinism affects 1 in 17,000 people. People with Albinism do not produce sufficient melanin (pigment), and this affects their eyes, skin and hair. It can cause vision problems such as photophobia, nystagmus and astigmatism.

In honour of Albinism Awareness Day, we spoke to London based artist, Jonathan Huxley who himself has Albinism.

Jonathan Huxley

Jonathan Huxley first burst onto the London art scene in the early 1990s after graduating from the Royal Academy of Art. Since then, he has been both making small- and large-scale pieces, commercial works as well as guerrilla pieces in public spaces (such as this one). His Albinism means that he is very short sighted, and his eyes are sensitive to light.

His paintings are characterised by representations of the human figure in constant motion. The figures often seem as though they are dancing or embracing, and the works features bold uses of colour and shadows, conveying excitement and energy. He is trained as a painter, and most of his work is drawing and working with graphic materials, chalks and pastels.

Early life

Born in Surrey in 1965, Jonathan started drawing as a child, initially inspired by his father who also enjoyed drawing and painting. Drawing cartoons and creating little worlds of his own through his art allowed him to escape his parents’ fiery marriage and unhappy home life. Art and drawing also provided a refuge when he began to experience bullying because of his Albinism at school.

Despite a previous aptitude for education, the constant bullying in his primary school caused him to fall seriously behind in his schoolwork. His headteacher at the time suggested to Jonathan’s father that he move to a school better suited to his needs – his Albinism meant he was very short sighted and photophobic – recommending Exhall Grange School in Coventry.

Exhall Grange School

Exhall Grange was established in the 1950s as a school specifically designed for children with vision impairments. As well as Jonathan Huxley, the school has many notable alumni – including several Paralympians, authors and actors. Exhall Grange’s teachers and staff encouraged pupils to excel as much as possible and worked to put in place the adaptations and support pupils needed to achieve that aim.

It was at Exhall Grange that Jonathan’s passion for art flourished and he was set on a path that eventually led to the career he has now.

He was the first student at Exhall Grange to apply to art school. According to Jonathan, “Exhall Grange was a very academic school, and it was considered a dead loss to be working in a visual field such as art. I was discouraged from applying to arts schools by the careers officer – even encouraged to take up cartography instead – but everyone telling me not to go just made art school seem even more attractive!”

Art school

After a foundation year, he got in to study fine art at Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham. In his last year there, a Royal Academy of Arts teacher came to campus and encouraged his to apply to the RA. According to Jonathan “he had about three good paintings”, but they were enough to get him in. He then went on to achieve a Diploma at the Royal Academy of Arts, in London, graduating in 1992.

The 1990s were an exciting time for artists, with the YBAs (young British artists) making big waves in the London art scene. Galleries were willing to take more risks, and “working class kids were interesting and given opportunities they wouldn’t be given now”. Jonathan found gallery representation in only his second year at the Royal Academy and won the Royal Academy Young Masters Prize upon graduation in 1992.

Later career works and teaching

The Young Masters Prize kicked off his varied career, which has mixed large scale works – such as early public murals for Bermondsey Council and more recent architectural work such as a piece for Paul Hasting LLP at 100 Bishopsgate – with regular gallery exhibitions and teaching. Some of his “most satisfying experiences have involved teaching – particularly outreach work with people with special educational needs and vulnerable groups”.

He studied enquiry-based learning as part of his rigorous academic training at the Royal Academy, and this is one of the key methods he has used in teaching outreach programmes. He finds this form of teaching “the most accessible and inclusive method for working with vulnerable people. It is a form of active learning that starts by posing questions, problems or scenarios. Unlike traditional teaching, which relies on the teacher presenting their own knowledge about the subject, enquiry-based learning leaves the power with the students at all times, while helping the student find the information for themselves”.

Jonathan continues to create work in his Deptford studio, which is housed in an old ship propeller factory. To learn more about Jonathan’s work, visit his website or Instagram page.

 

National Volunteers’ Week 2021: Charmaine’s story

My name is Charmaine and since early 2021 I have been a volunteer member of the London Sight Loss Council. I came to volunteering after becoming gravely ill in 2018; as a result of this illness, I am now registered severely sight impaired, am also hearing impaired and have mobility issues. During the time of my illness and recovery I was given brilliant care by the NHS and then rehabilitation workers. It was this care, and the love and support of my family and friends that helped me get back on my feet.

Wanting to give back

By 2019 I had regained some mobility and wanted to give back in a small way by volunteering to help other people. I began working with Vision Foundation in 2019, taking part in awareness raising videos and telling my own story of sight loss. Before the pandemic hit, I had taken part in assemblies at my daughters’ primary school with a colleague from Vision Foundation. The assemblies taught the children about sight loss and how I use my long mobility cane. We also touched on the importance of compassion and understanding and that sometimes people with disabilities need a bit more time or help to do certain things.

Pandemic hits

As it did with most activities around the world, the pandemic put a halt to the assemblies. However, I was able to volunteer again with Vision Foundation in the summer. We worked on a piece that addressed the unique challenges people with sight loss were facing when trying to social distance, and other new barriers that had sprung up because of pandemic restrictions.

New opportunities

Happily, as lockdown began to ease in March I was able to volunteer again with my daughters’ school. The school was about to welcome a child with vision impairment, and the deputy head asked me to help the school prepare by coming in and giving guidance. I was able to use my own lived experience to help the school understand some of the barriers the child may face, and how to try and remove them.

The deputy head and I had a look around the school and talked about how good contrast can help people with a bit of residual vision, and the tools that the new pupil may use – like magnification. We also discussed the importance of good lighting, and the fact that levels of residual vision may not be stable, so things that help one day may not help on another.

It was refreshing to know that the school thought carefully about how to ensure a smooth transition for this pupil. It was a pleasure to use my own experience to play a small part in making sure that this pupil would feel welcomed and supported. I hope the measures put in place will help this pupil feel comfortable advocating for their own needs in the future.

London Sight Loss Council role

More recently, I have been a member of the London Sight Loss Council. Sight Loss Councils aim to tackle the issues affecting people living with visual impairments. Our role is to campaign around issues the impact people with sight loss, and also advocate on their behalf. We have been meeting regularly since January 2021 and have produced factsheets that address inaccessible formats and mental health issues. I am excited about the work we are planning for the rest of the year and look forward to continuing my volunteering journey in this role.

Learn more about Charmaine by visiting this page

World No Tobacco Day – The links between smoking and eye health

Today is World No Tobacco Day!

If you are a smoker and have been meaning to give up, then maybe learning more about the effects of smoking on your eye health might prompt you to kick the habit.

Most people know that smoking is associated with cancers affecting the lungs, mouth and throat, but did you know that smoking can have a huge impact on your eyes?

Check out these common eye conditions which are all linked with smoking:

Age-related Macular Degeneration

The link between smoking and Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) has been known for many years. In fact, smokers are up to four times more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers, and the British Medical Journal has published research that suggests that 1 in 5 cases of AMD are caused by tobacco consumption.

Additionally, smokers are shown to develop AMD on average 5 years earlier than non-smokers. Smoking causes blood vessels to narrow throughout the body, and this also affects the blood vessels in the eye.

This narrowing of blood vessels increases overall blood pressure, and this is a known risk factor for AMD. And there’s more bad news: if you have wet AMD already, there is also evidence suggesting that smokers respond less well to treatment.

As AMD is heavily affected by environmental factors, quitting smoking is a really good way to significantly decrease your risk of developing the disease,

Cataracts

Cataracts are also associated with smoking, with heavy smokers (people that smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day or more) being three times more at risk of cataracts than non-smokers.

Cataracts cause the lens inside your eye to become cloudy – the effect is like looking through a dusty or cloudy windshield – things look blurry, hazy and less clear with a cataract.

There is encouraging news – early symptoms may be improved with surgery to replace the cloudy lens with an artificial alternate – but one of the best preventative measures is giving up (or never taking up) smoking and wearing sunglasses in sunny environments.

Uveitis

Smokers are twice as likely to suffer uveitis as non-smokers. Uveitis is an inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the eye, and it can cause both pain and vision changes.

Uveitis can also lead to further sight problems such as glaucoma and cataracts, which we know smokers are already at risk from.

However, Uveitis can be treated, and in most cases respond well to steroid medication, but it’s important to remember that smoking is a major risk factor.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy is an eye disease that affects the retina, and it is caused by elevated blood sugar levels.

Anyone with uncontrolled diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. These high sugar levels damage the small vessels of the retina, which is the light sensitive tissues in the back of the eye. It’s the retina that is responsible for processing the images that make vision possible.

Smoking is a major risk factor for diabetic retinopathy, and if you already have it, it will cause it to progress even faster. As we already know, the nicotine in tobacco contributes to higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but it also impairs insulin activity.

In the case of diabetic retinopathy, quitting smoking is critical to eye and heart health, and controlling diabetes.

Changing behaviour

Has listing some of the eye diseases associated with smoking persuaded you to quit yet? Perhaps not. But you should also remember that smoking doesn’t just affect you; smoking around your loved ones and friends also increases their risk of suffering sight loss!

The NHS has lots of resources to help you stop smoking. Find out more here. 

Which inbuilt accessibility features are better: iPhone or Android?

Today is the tenth Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access and inclusion. To mark it, I’ve written about my experiences of using the standard inbuilt accessibility features found with Android and IOS smartphones. Anyone can use these features, but they can be particularly useful for blind and partially sighted people. In this particular article, I will focus on magnification and Zoom accessibility features. 

I have been using Android smartphones for about 11 years, ever since the Samsung S series came out. In later years, I started using the accessibility features on the Android – prior to this I was not aware that accessibility features existed. Like most visually impaired people, I struggled with using my phones and often held them really close to my face.

Samsung accessibility features

Fast forward to now, and I started to wonder what accessibility features were available on the Samsung. I was particularly interested in magnification and zooming in/out. In settings menu of the Samsung phone I scrolled down to accessibility, then discovered vision or visibility enhancement. As I scrolled down this section I came across magnification – enabling this means that I don’t need to keep using the camera as a magnifier. 

I also discovered font size and style in settings. This was great because it enabled to make the font on my phone a lot bigger and change the style to one that’s easier to read.  I then enabled the zoom in/out feature by going into magnification and then magnification accessibility settings; then I selected triple tap option to access magnification. This makes it easier to access and use for the internet, emails and some apps.

iPhone accessibility features

I recently I decided to change from an Android phone to an iPhone. Friends had raved about the inbuilt accessibility options on the iPhone and I thought it was time that I took the plunge and find out for myself! 

I have had an iPhone for a month now, and it definitely does have some great accessibility features. For example, the settings menu itself is really easy to use and the headings are really simple to follow. The accessibility section is also well labelled, and the zoom and magnification are separated – I find this really easy to use as sometimes I don’t want both features on. In the case of Android smartphones, these features are merged. 

With the iPhone, display and text size is in one place under ‘display feature’. You can also find high contrast settings in the same place. With Android, these are found in ‘visibility’, but in my opinion the iPhone labelling of ‘display feature’ is clearer and easier to find. Also, I have to go through more screens with the Android to get to magnification. It’s quicker to get to these features on the iPhone because I have to go through fewer screens.

To come…

There are many inbuilt accessibility features I have come across both with Android and IOS operating systems. My next article will focus on a key feature used by blind and partially sighted people – Talkback vs Voiceover! 

For now, keep curious, keep confident and keep climbing.

Renu Walia, London Vision intern

 

E-scooter trials to begin in London on June 7

Today (18th May) Transport for London confirmed that e-scooter rental trials will begin in London on June 7. The operators will be Lime,  a provider already operating in Salford and Milton Keynes, Tier, a German provider that is part of a trial in York, and smaller newcomer Dott, for which London will be its first UK city.

The 12-month trial will run in Canary Wharf in Tower Hamlets, the City of London, Kensington and Chelsea, Ealing, Richmond upon Thames and Hammersmith. The boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster are also planning to take part in the trial in the future.

Safety standards

Transport for London has outlined the following safety standards for rental e-scooters in London:

  • A lower maximum speed of 12.5 mph (3mph lower than in the rest of the UK);
  • Lights at the front and rear of the vehicles that are always on throughout any rental;
  • Audible warning systems that can be used without adjusting the rider’s grip of the handlebar;
  • “First-ride policies” requiring new users to take an e-learning safety course;
  • Rules against riding on pavements;
  • Potential users are encouraged to wear a helmet while riding, though it is not mandatory.

Unlike private e-scooters, the use of which is illegal in all circumstances apart from on private land, people renting e-scooters need to have a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped licence.

Concerns

London Vision is particularly concerned about the likelihood of an increase in hazardous street clutter because of the trial. Abandoned dockless bikes in the capital already cause problems for blind and partially sighted pedestrians, disabled and elderly people; abandoned e-scooters have the potential to do the same.

E-scooter operators in London will be required to include geofencing that purports to prevent riding scooters in prohibited boroughs and to ensure responsible parking. Operators will also have a mandatory response time in cases of improper parking and obstructions. However, trials in Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and other cities have shown that these mandatory response times are rarely adhered to. The ability of geofencing to ensure responsible parking is also unproven.

Ongoing trials

Sight Loss Councils operating in Birmingham, Bristol and Merseyside are recording ongoing issues with e-scooter trials in their local areas as part of their Streets For All campaign. Abandoned, poorly parked and irresponsibly ridden e-scooters are causing persistent issues for pedestrians in trial cities and look likely to be replicated in London. Sight Loss Councils are asking people who see issues to publicly share photos or videos of these on social media with the hashtag #StreetsForAll.  They will then raise these with the operators.

TfL has suggested that cases of abandoned e-scooters should be reported directly to the operator using the serial numbers on each scooter, date, time, and location. Issues of poor rider behaviour should be reported the same way. Blind and partially sighted pedestrians are unlikely to be able to record the colour and/or serial number of offending scooters, and TfL is yet to suggest an alternative complaints system.

For reference:

  • Lime e-scooters are mostly white with lime green accents on the mudguard and steering stem, black wheels and mudguards.
  • Tier e-scooters have a black body, wheels and mudguards and a teal stem.
  • Dott e-scooters are mostly blue with black wheels, mudguards and handlebars.

Provide feedback on e-scooter use in London

Dott

Number: 0800 048 8993
Email: support@ridedott.com

Lime

Number: 0800 808 5223
Email: support@li.me

TIER

Number: 01513 174276
Email: support@tier.app

Get in touch

London Vision will continue to monitor the situation and engage with TfL about the progress of the trial in London. To support this work please share your experiences of e-scooters across London via info@londonvision.org.

To learn more about London Vision’s campaigns work, visit this page.

Published 18 May 2021

Updated 7 June to include feedback details for the e-scooter rental providers.

Electric bus familiarisation event

At the end of April, London Vision hosted its first face to face event as the restrictions around the COVID pandemic begin to loosen. The event focussed on the new electric buses that Transport for London has begun to incorporate into its fleet.

The event on 28th April was held in Dagenham in collaboration with TfL, Barking and Dagenham Sensory Team and Sight Action Havering to give blind and partially sighted people and people with other disabilities an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new buses. Bus garage staff, drivers and staff from TfL’s training and development team were also on hand to listen to feedback from attendees. The buses will be operating on the 174 route. 

A growing number of blind and partially sighted people in London have informed us of the key issues they have faced with the new electric buses. This event gave them a chance to explore the bus while stationary and get a feel for the layout, while highlighting problems directly to TfL and bus staff.

Key issues with the new electric buses

  • Poor colour contrast of social distancing signage on the buses makes it hard to read.
  • New positioning of a pole near the wheelchair area has potential to cause injury because it now bends into and impedes the main walkway from the front of the bus.
  • Very narrow walkway from entrance of the bus to the back, too narrow for a guide dog user and dog to easily pass. This could also impede parents with children, or someone receiving sighted assistance.
  • The motor and batteries of the electric bus are housed at the back of the vehicle, meaning there is no longer a back window, making the rear of the bus dark and difficult to navigate.
  • The new buses have two steps leading towards the seating area at the back of the bus, however there is very little headroom and while assessing the bus, many blind and partially sighted people hit their heads. Passengers over 5ft tall, would not be able to get to seats at the back of the bus without hitting their head.
  • Many of the seats on the lower deck are up a step, presenting issues for people with mobility problems. There are also only four priority seats available. Of these four, only one is suitable for a guide dog user (at floor level, enabling the passenger to sit with their guide dog alongside them) or someone with mobility issues.

Specific feedback from the event

More than 40 people attended the event, spaced out over three different sessions. Attendees offered on the spot feedback to drivers, station staff and TfL representatives. Bhavini Makwana also followed up with attendees after the event, below is some specific feedback on the new bus design:

“I can’t believe that there is only one designated seat where a guide dog owner and guide dog can comfortably sit. This is within a set of 4 priority seats, which can and are used by anyone with a hidden or visible disability, pregnant women and older persons. All other seats are confined, don’t have an open space under the seat and are up a step”.

“I did not like the bus layout at all – who did TfL consult with? It seems as it was designed by someone who envisaged the bus to be used [only] by short people”.

The hearing loop system did not work effectively. I just travelled on this exact bus, coming to this event and the system was not clear. I had to ask the driver to ensure it was sorted out”. 

“I have had to travel on this bus at least 3 or 4 times a week; I have hurt my leg on this bus so many times due to the pole coming out into the middle aisle. When the bus is busy or you are trying to keep your distance, it is very difficult when you cannot see, the bus is narrow and the pole just makes it very difficult to navigate past without knocking into it”. 

Buses with this layout are currently operating on the network, with more soon to follow. London Vision is awaiting confirmation about which routes will now include electric buses of this design in order to inform blind and partially sighted passengers. 

Get in touch

Do electric buses operate on routes that you use? Have you had a positive or negative experience using them? Please share your bus journey examples with Bhavini Makwana on info@londonvision.org so she can share them with Transport for London and continue advocating for people with sight loss and their right to accessible transport.

London Mayoral election 2021

The London Mayoral elections are days away! There are twenty candidates running for the role of London Mayor in 2021, standing on a variety of platforms. 

London Vision has crunched the numbers and examined the candidates, judging them on a number of metrics. As a sight loss organisation, the key metric that interests us is policies, promises and positions relating to disabled Londoners. According to Transport for All, there are 1.2 million disabled Londoners. This includes the 200,000 people living in London with sight loss. 

1.2 million people is a large voting bloc, making it even more surprising that so few candidates made promises to disabled people in their manifestos. In fact, only four candidates made detailed references to plans relating to, and potentially benefiting, disabled Londoners. 

Read more on each of the candidates’ positions on disability below. Here you can download London Vision’s candidate matrix, which tracks mentions of specific words, policies, the existence of a longform manifesto and whether it is accessible.    

Sadiq Khan, Labour Party

Disability promise

  • He will launch a ‘Recovery Board’ with the aim of narrowing social, economic and health inequalities and support communities most impacted by COVID19 (pg. 21).
  • He will work with disabled people’s organisations to ensure that he is doing everything in his power to fight for equal access and equal opportunities for deaf and disabled Londoners
  • Commits to 6 more stepfree stations on the Tube by the end of the year.
  • Dial A Ride and Taxicard schemes remain a key part of his future transport plans.
  • He will work with local authorities and developers to ensure all new developments are accessible to all Londoners, regardless of any disabilities (pgs. 76-77)

Read Sadiq Khan’s full manifesto. Visit Sadiq Khan’s website.

Luisa Porritt, Liberal Democrats

Disability promise:

  • Committed to making at least another 15 stations step-free by 2024.
  • They will also ensure that stations have tactile paving installed.
  • Committed to protecting the 60+ Oyster card and removing the current limits on its use (pg. 22)

Read Luisa Porritt’s full manifesto. Visit Luisa Porritt’s website.

Shaun Bailey, Conservative Party

Disability promise:

  • Shaun Bailey will exempt Blue Badge holders from the ULEZ (pg. 25).
  • He will restore much-needed bus routes in Outer London that many disabled travellers rely upon. Shaun Bailey will restore all bus routes withdrawn under Sadiq Khan (pg. 21).
  • He will establish a London Disability Taskforce to tackle social and health inequalities faced by disabled people (pg. 41).

Read Shaun Bailey’s manifesto. Visit Shaun Bailey’s website.

 

Sian Berry, Green Party

Disability promises:

  • Create a city-wide mission to end racism and sexism, support the rights of LGBTIQA+ citizens, young and older Londoners, and break down the barriers faced by disabled Londoners (pg. 4)
  • They will appoint a disability equality policy adviser and create a new forum for London Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisations to feed into policy development, particularly on housing, crime and transport (pg. 101)
  • Promises to make streets safer and accessible for children, older and disabled people to walk, wheelchair or cycle (pg. 17)
  • Investment in measures to make main roads less hostile to people walking, wheeling, cycling and scooting. Programme to upgrade pavements to be level and wide enough for social distancing. More crossing points with dropped kerbs and tactile paving (pg. 32)
  • More and better buses (pg. 36), and bus stop designs drawing upon best practice for shelter, shade and seating that is suitable for older and disabled people. New bus shelters will include visible real-time bus arrival and air pollution information.
    • This new bus stop standard will put accessibility first, with appropriate levels for boarding by foot and by wheelchair, cycle bypasses with zebra crossings to reduce conflict, all-weather protection, shelter for wheelchairs and buggies, seating and tactile paving. Live bus information will be displayed clearly for those who can’t easily use apps and online tools. (pg. 45)
  • Greens ‘Access for All’ plan, pg. 45 – a number of promises regarding toilet facilities (including installation of Changing Places toilets); access reviews of train and underground stations, bus stations and bus stops; increase in Blue Badge parking bays; investment in new bus designs to enable two wheelchair users to travel together and improve space on buses.
  • Promise to improve access to digital services for older people including access to broadband at home and via mobile devices (pg. 99)
  • “Enabling our disabled citizens” (pgs. 100-101) addresses more promises to disabled Londoners, including:
    • Recognition of the social model of disability; ensuring that all Londoner can benefit from jobs, homes, skills and other opportunities (pg. 101)
  • Creation of more opportunities for older and disabled Londoners to enter work, Greens will fund and support improved (and flexible) training and career advice for these citizens (pg. 118).

Read Sian Berry’s manifesto. Visit Sian Berry’s website.

Peter Gammons, UKIP

Disability promises:

None so far.

Visit Peter Gammons’ website.

Mandu Reid, Women’s Equality Party

Mandu Reid is campaigning on a platform of social justice, gender equality and inclusion.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit Mandu Reid’s candidate page on the Women’s Equality Party website.

Kim Bayalev, Renew Party

Balayev is campaigning for a Universal Basic Income, cheaper transport costs and more support for small businesses.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit Kam Bayalev’s website.

Valerie Brown, Burning Pink Party

Valerie Brown is running on a single platform, she wants to be the last Mayor of London, abolish the Mayoralty and return power to the people.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit Valerie Brown’s website.

Piers Corbyn, Let London Live

Piers Corbyn is campaigning to end all restrictions relating to COVID19, reduce homelessness and defend the NHS from privatisation.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit Piers Corbyn’s website.

Count Binface, Count Binface Party

Count Binface is a satirical candidate who has run in a number of election campaigns. 

Disability promise:

None so far.

Read Count Binface’s manifesto. Visit Count Binface’s website.

Laurence Fox, Reclaim Party

Laurence Fox is an actor, standing on “anti-woke” platform against “extreme political correctness”.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Read Laurence Fox’s manifesto. Visit Laurence Fox’s website.

Richard Hewison, Rejoin EU

Campaigning for the UK to re-join the Erasmus Programme and pledge more support for the performing arts sector.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Read Richard Hewison’s manifesto. Visit Richard Hewison’s website.

Vanessa Hudson, Animal Welfare Party

Hudson is campaigning to push for carbon net zero status in London by 2025, prioritise cleaning up the Thames, and the development of vertical farms.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit Vanessa Hudson’s website.

Steve Kelleher, Social Democratic Party

Steve Kelleher was previously an unsuccessful Brexit Party candidate in the 2019 general election. 

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit the Social Democratic Party website.

David Kurten, Heritage Party

Elected member of the London Assembly (UKIP), campaigning for London Mayor on a socially conservative platform.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit David Kurten’s website.

Farah London, Independent

Farah London is standing with a focus on the cost of living in London and public safety.

Disability promise:

  • Freedom Pass holders’ time travel restrictions abolished (pg. 33)

Read Farah London’s manifesto. Visit Farah London’s website.

Brian Rose, London Real Party

Brian Rose is an American born podcast host, now based in London. 

Disability promise:

None so far.

Read Brian Rose’s manifesto. Visit Brian Rose’s website.

Nims Obunge, Independent

Nims Obunge is a pastor and the chief executive of knife-crime awareness organisation The Peace Alliance.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit Nims Obunge’s website.

 

Max Fosh, Independent

Max Fosh is a YouTube celebrity who is trying to win more votes than Laurence Fox.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit Max Fosh’s YouTube channel.

Niko Omilana, Independent

Niko Omilana is Barnet-based YouTuber, known for making prank videos. He is running on no platform.

Disability promise:

None so far.

Visit Niko Omilana’s YouTube channel.

London mayoral manifestos have greater focus on statues and drugs than disabled people

The manifestos from London’s mayoral candidates have a greater focus on statues and drugs than disabled people, according to research just revealed by London Vision. 

The sight loss charity reviewed all manifestos (where these have been released) by mayoral candidates. Despite 1.2 million disabled people* living in the city, only four of the twenty candidates running in London’s mayoral elections having policies relating to people with disability – compared to six that outlined detailed policies on statues and cannabis. 

CEO of London Vision, Cathy Low, said: “It is shocking that only four of the twenty candidates in the mayoral race have made any reference to policies designed to help achieve equal access for people with disabilities. 

“In fact, it is more likely that a candidate will have a formed policy relating to cannabis (legalisation or otherwise) or to the capital’s statues than one that addresses or proposes solutions to the inequality faced by Londoners with disabilities.  We are not detracting from the issues around drug use or the ethical implications of some historic statues but to have such a low representation on disability in the manifestos when it affects such a large number of Londoners is disproportionate and does not reflect the needs of many people living in the capital.” 

See the full report and breakdown here and the candidate matrix here.  

London Vision would like to see how the candidates plan to make the capital a fairer and more inclusive city for disabled people. 

Cathy added: “Only 17% of disabled people are born with their disability, and anyone can acquire a disability. An accessible and more equal London benefits everyone and creates a more sustainable London for the future.

 

ENDS

*According to research conducted by Transport for All, there are 1.2 million disabled Londoners.

 

For further information or images please contact: Rosalind Duignan-Pearson, London Vision, rosalind.duignan-pearson@londonvision.org  0203 761 3651 or 07974 578 637. 

 

Editors’ notes

About London Vision

Our vision is a society and capital city where blind and partially sighted people can participate fully.

Our mission is to make London more equal and inclusive so that people who are blind and partially sighted can advantage of all that the UK’s capital city has to offer.

www.londonvision.org

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

 

London Vision appoints four new trustees

London Vision has appointed four new trustees to its board. The appointments of Jamile Burns, Peter Richardson, Fiona Costley and Carl Feghali were ratified last week. London Vision is excited to strengthen its board with trustees drawn from a mix of backgrounds and experience that represent the diversity of London. 

 

Cathy Low, London Vision CEO said: “I am delighted to welcome such a diverse and interesting mix of people to the board. The new trustees bring both lived experience of sight loss and of living, working, and studying in London. Each will be able to bring a unique perspective to London Vision’s governance and ensure that the charity capably serves London’s blind and partially sighted community”. 

 

Fiona Costley brings over 13 years’ worth of experience in the world of HR across public, third and commercial sectors to the London Vision board. She is currently the Director of HR at Mulberry Schools Trust, a group of three schools in Tower Hamlets, leading a team with responsibility for over 500 members of staff. 

 

Fiona said: “Having worked in HR for many years, I look forward to bringing my professional experience to London Vision’s board. Human resources expertise is a crucial element of organisational governance, and I am eager to get to work on helping to shape London Vision’s policies in ways that benefit London’s blind and partially sighted population”. 

 

Jamile Burns is a practising lawyer, with extensive experience in financial services regulation, banking and corporate law. She has worked at the Financial Conduct Authority since 2014. Jamile will bring a wealth of knowledge of financial law and compliance to the board as well her experience working in these fields with a vision impairment. 

 

Jamile said: “My motivation for joining London Vision’s board is to add my own personal experiences as a visually impaired professional living and working in London, as well as my legal expertise. I think my professional work as a lawyer will provide London Vision with effective guidance and contribute to the sustainability of the organisation and am excited to start working with my fellow trustees. 

 

Since 2011, Peter Richardson has led the UK offices of Protiviti, a global consulting firm and he has now taken on a role to design and implement the ‘future of work’. Prior to joining Protiviti, he spent 30 years as a consultant to the financial services industry including leadership roles at PwC, EDS and Atos Consulting. 

 

Peter said: “I am excited to join London Vision’s board and work with an organisation committed to making London more equal and inclusive for blind and partially sighted people. My professional background focusses on driving change and delivering value and I intend to bring this focus to the governance and direction of London Vision”. 

 

Carl Feghali is a law student, studying LLB at the London School of Economics. As a young person with visual impairment, he has a keen understanding of the challenges faced by young visually impaired people in education and those first entering the workplace. 

 

Carl said: “As a student at a London university, I have an acute understanding of what it’s like to navigate visual impairment while studying, and of the impact COVID19 has had on the student experience. I am excited to bring my perspective and experiences to the London Vision board, while also ensuring that young people’s voices are represented”.

 

For further information or images please contact: Rosalind Duignan-Pearson, London Vision, rosalind.duignan-pearson@londonvision.org  0203 761 3651 or 07974 578 637. 

 

About London Vision

Our vision is a society and capital city where blind and partially sighted people can participate fully. 

 

Our mission is to make London more equal and inclusive so that people who are blind and partially sighted can take advantage of all that the UK’s capital city has to offer.

www.londonvision.org

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.