MP experiences what it feels like to be blind

Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the guide-dogs event.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the guide-dogs event.

Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan visited a street scene set up in Parliament by the charity Guide Dogs to learn more about the challenges that people with sight loss face when walking the streets.

During the event, she dodged a car parked on the pavement, stumbled across a variety of street clutter and visited a shared space area lacking safety features such as kerbs and pedestrian crossings.

She also heard from guide-dog owners that dealing with these obstacles can leave them scared and reluctant to go out.

Anne-Marie said: “I have long been a supporter of the Guide Dogs campaign and have campaigned for changes to the law over recent years.

“This event gave me the opportunity to experience for a short time the challenges that those with sight loss face when walking the streets.

“It is incumbent upon us as lawmakers to ensure that we make life as easy as possible for those with sight loss to go about their day-to-day lives.

“It was a real privilege to speak to guide-dog owners from across the UK and Northumberland to hear first-hand the struggles they face daily.

“It is a sad and troubling reality that the current situation leaves many scared and reluctant to go out and I am determined to change this.

“The Government is looking at options to tackle this serious problem and I will be ensuring that my voice is heard so we make a real difference to the lives of those with sight loss.”

According to a Guide Dogs survey, 97 per cent of blind and partially-sighted people have encountered obstacles on the pavement.

The most common obstacles were cars parked on the pavement, with nine out of 10 people having had problems with this issue.

In separate research by YouGov for Guide Dogs, two out of three drivers admitted having parked on the pavement and nearly half were confused by the law on pavement parking.

Guide Dogs is campaigning for a law to make pavement parking an offence, except on streets where local authorities agree that it is safe for pedestrians. This is already the case in London.