The UK government has announced new building requirements in an attempt to “reverse the rise of gender-neutral toilets”.

The policy, which was announced on 13 August, means that all new non-domestic buildings, both public and private, will be required to provide separate single-sex toilets for women and men.

The legislation comes as part of the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ scheme and is part of its “wider efforts to protect single-sex spaces”.

“The change comes amid dignity and privacy concerns from women and elderly people who feel they are being unfairly disadvantaged as publicly accessible toilets are increasingly being converted into gender neutral facilities,” it claimed in a statement.

The statement also alleges that gender-neutral toilets have “forced” people to “share cubicle and hand-washing facilities”.

Supposedly, the rise of these facilities has caused “increasing waiting in shared queues, decreased choice and a limitation on privacy and dignity for all.”

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Kemi Badenoch, Minister for Women and Equalities, 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.”

The changes will affect England only.

Gender-neutral toilets have been a debated topic in Parliament over the last year, since the government first announced measures to enforce separate male and female toilets.

Caroline Nokes, a senior MP in the Conservative Party, has been a vocal advocate for them in schools.

“I hate the fact that we keep coming down to talking about toilets at every opportunity, but it’s absolutely right that there should be inclusive, gender-neutral loos in our schools and that’s something that I personally will stand up for enormously,” she said last year, according to The Independent.

The proposed changes will now go to consultation.