I propose to take Questions Nos. 440 and 441 together.
Part M of the building regulations, which has been in effect since 1 June 1992, places a duty on persons constructing or extending public buildings, whether publicly or privately owned, to provide access for people with disabilities.
The provision of access facilities to other existing buildings is a matter for the owners and occupiers of the buildings concerned. Departments and local authorities have been requested by my Department on a number of occasions to ensure that appropriate provision is made for access facilities for people with disabilities to all buildings under their control.
I amended part M of the regulations in June 2000 following a public consultation process. The amended part M which came into effect on 1 January 2001 requires all new dwellings to be visitable by people with disabilities. It also places a more stringent legal requirement for the suitability of disabled access to new non-residential buildings, including places of employment and leisure, hotels and cinemas. Such access will now have to be "adequate", not just "reasonable".
Compliance with the regulations is primarily a matter for the owners, designers and builders of the buildings involved. I have issued a revised Technical Guidance Document M, 2000 edition, on how to comply with the requirements of the amended part M.