The European Commission has launched a public consultation on plans to break down accessibility barriers for people with disabilities.

The consultation will help the Commission to prepare its proposals for a European Accessibility Act, which is planned for autumn 2012. The initiative aims to ensure that people with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transport and to information and communication services. It aims to gather views from people with disabilities, the public and businesses. It is open until February 29, 2012. The Commission adopted a strategy last year to create a barrier-free Europe for disabled people by 2020. One of the key actions included was an accessibility initiative. The aim is to use standardisation or public procurement rules to make all goods and services accessible to people with disabilities while fostering an EU market for assistive devices.

"Accessibility is about breaking down barriers to disabled people in buildings, transport and online. Improving access also makes life easier for older people, parents with small children and many others," said EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding. "Making goods and services more accessible is also about creating market opportunities and can be a stimulus for innovation and growth. That is why we are consulting business as well as people with disabilities, older people and the public at large."

For more information, and details of how to submit your opinions, click here.