Open doors!

[Larry and me ‘necking’ – an encounter at HTV West many years ago!]

Remember comedian Larry Grayson’s famous phrase? Shut that door!

If he was alive today he might have approved of a recent energy-saving campaign that the Extinction Rebellion organisation staged locally.

The environmental group was on the streets of Bath highlighting the colossal energy waste that is going on every day in the city’s shopping streets as a result of stores leaving their doors wide open during cold weather. Making their point by placing a false set of “doors” in front of offending stores.  

Dave Searby, a spokesperson for the group said “Getting shops to close their doors in the winter is a no brainer.  The energy saved will cut climate emissions as well as saving money.  The climate crisis is a huge, complex problem, but we are highlighting energy wastage like this to show how it relates to our everyday lives”.  “Several members of staff we spoke to would like to institute a closed door policy, but are prevented from this by their owners”

The group says Research from Cambridge University shows that closing a shop door in winter typically reduces energy use by 50% and, when a shop is on a heavily trafficked street, reduces levels of airborne pollutants in the shop by 30%.  Air curtains, used by some stores above open doors, actually increase energy consumption.

Regarding disabled access, under planning regulations, a permanently open door is never a solution to disabled access requirements. 

Disabled groups have made the point that draughts and temperature extremes in store are worse for the less mobile customer. Good access but this can be provided in a number of sensible ways such as staff help, door bells, handles fitted at the right height and – best of all – an automatic door entrance. 

BANES Council’s Equalities Team also agrees that having a shop door closed during trading hours shouldn’t be an accessibility issue.

Marks and Spencer, Tesco, John Lewis Partnership, Holland and Barrett, The Body Shop, Wickes and Boots all operate a closed door policy. 

The following shops were found to have their doors propped open at 17:00 on Thursday 9th Feb (Ambient temperature 7 degrees):

Russell and Bromley; Tiger; Poundland; Superdrug; Millets; Skechers; Molton Brown; Lush; Dr Martens; WHSmith; Apricot; Costa; itsu; Mountain warehouse; Primark; Schuh; Claires; The Perfume Shop; EE/BT; Vision express; Allsaints; Pandora; Fatface;Tommy Hilfiger; Smiggle; Office; Typo; Accessorize; Levis; Lululemon.

I was pleased to spot one business with the doors shut to keep in the heat, on my travels today.

I have approached Bath BID and Business West for comment.

Meanwhile, on a national level, because of what the organisation call the complete inadequacy of the response by governments and industry to the scale of the catastrophe we face, Extinction Rebellion, together with other groups, are working towards a massive mobilisation in London in April. 

Gathering at the Houses of Parliament day after day in large numbers means that XR will leave the locks, glue and paint behind and instead demonstrate faith in a critical mass of people to create a moment that’s impossible to ignore. 

More info