The States of Guernsey unanimously voted in November 2013 to move forward and develop disability discrimination/equality legislation for Guernsey as part of the Disability and Inclusion Strategy.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 is well established in the UK and was introduced to assist people who face day to day discrimination as a result of their disabilities. This not only covers rights in respect of physical access to buildings, but also includes rights in respect of employment and education.
The new Guernsey legislation will not be an exact replica of the UK law but will draw from it. Having regard to our built environment in the form of housing and commercial property, Building Regulations already go some way in dealing with access for those with disabilities. Part M of The Building (Guernsey) Regulations, 2012, as amended, sets out the current requirements in relation to domestic and non-domestic properties.
Of particular importance when considering the implications of any new legislation is that whilst it will apply to new buildings, there is no requirement to alter existing buildings in order to make them compliant when new legislation comes into force. Alterations may however trigger such requirements but the requirements in respect of domestic and non-domestic property will differ.
For anybody looking for further information on how to access the many venues and amenities Guernsey has to offer, the DisabledGo Access Guide to Guernsey offers invaluable advice: www.disabledgo.com/organisations/guernsey/main-2
For those wishing to refer to Part M of The Building Regulations these can be found at www.gov.gg and anybody seeking further local resources in respect of disabilities can find useful information on the www.disabilityalliance.org.gg website.