Last edited 13 Jan 2022

People with disabilities definition

The National Planning Policy Framework suggests that: 'People have a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, and that impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. These persons include, but are not limited to, people with ambulatory difficulties, blindness, learning difficulties, autism and mental health needs.'

Almost 20% of the UK population are disabled, around 12 million people, and the so-called disability 'purple pound' is worth £80 billion to the British economy.

The Equality Act was introduced on 1 October 2010. It gives legal protection from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society, consolidating three previous duties covering race, disability and gender, bringing them together into a single duty, and extending it to cover the ‘protected characteristics’ of age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment.

Approved document M of the building regulations states that people, regardless of disability, age or gender, should be able to gain access to buildings and to gain access within buildings and use their facilities both as visitors and as people who live or work in the. The approved document sets out a number of ways in which this can be achieved.

The government defines inclusive design as '…a process that ensures that all buildings, places and spaces can be easily and comfortably accessed and used by everyone.' Ref Policy paper 2010 to 2015 government policy: 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy.

NB Shaping neighbourhoods, Accessible London: achieving an inclusive environment, Supplementary planning guidance, published by the Mayor of London in October 2014, defines disability as: ‘The loss or limitation of opportunities that prevent people who have impairments from taking part in the normal life of the community on an equal level with others, due to physical and social barriers.’

It defines a disabled person as: ‘…someone who has an impairment, experiences externally imposed barriers and self-identifies as a disabled person.’

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