Continental “pissoir” open-air public loos set to be introduced in Meadows park


CONTINENTAL-style open air toilets are set to be introduced in one of Scotland’s most famous parks.

The toilets – known by the French as “pissoirs” – will be set up in the Meadows, Edinburgh, following complaints from residents about people urinating in public.

Edinburgh City Council said they planned to install the toilets this summer.

A continental style "pissoir" similar to the one that could be used in the Meadows (pic: Bjørn som tegner)
A continental style “pissoir” similar to the one that could be used in the Meadows (pic: Bjørn som tegner)


Campaigners have welcomed the move because “tens of thousands of people” annually pee in resident’s gardens instead of queuing for the park’s two official toilets.

Jim Orr – Edinburgh City Council’s environment leader and councillor for the Meadows – described the loos as “elegant”.

He said: “We’re presented with a particular challenge of needing public toilet facilities that are 24-hour but also cheap in this difficult economic climate.

“We’ve been looking at a few solutions which will be acceptable to the local population and continental-style open toilets appear to be the best option.

“We’ve done some research and some of these are in fact very elegant.

“We’re looking at provision for men but also for women as we’re keen to ensure they are not left without adequate facilities.

“Ideally we had intended these to be available by early summer but it may be next year before they are in place.”

The British Toilet Association (BTA) said the proposed outside plumbing could be built for around £15,000 per block depending on drainage access.

Raymond Martin, BTA’s managing director, said: “Lots of cities are looking at the issue of toilet provision now and the problem is there is no statutory requirement to provide them and no funding from government.

“It’s fantastic to hear Edinburgh is considering introducing pissoirs – it probably costs a great deal to mop up behind these people and so to take a pro-active approach may well save money.

“It’s also good for public safety and allows the police to divert their resources elsewhere.”

Heather Goodare from Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links campaign group said: “The provision of more toilets in the Meadows is really important.

“In high summer there are tens of thousands of people on the Meadows and just two toilets at the very edge of the park.

“We’re pleased to hear Cllr Orr has proposed the pissoir – our members addressed the council on Thursday [last week] and spoke of finding girls as well as boys weeing on their doorstep in the middle of the day.”

Edinburgh City Council transport convenor Lesley Hinds added: “We are looking at this seriously.

“Deploying the 12 extra wardens throughout the city as detailed in next week’s budget will make a difference – if we actually get a summer this year.”