A consultation in the department of transport could soon bring about a ban on parking on the pavement in the UK. Currently, there are no regulations regarding pavement parking outside of London where drivers can be fined £70 if they are caught breaking the rules.
Authorities across the UK currently have the power to enforce their own restrictions on parking on pavements, however, the proposed ban would create official rules for them to follow.
Parking on the pavement can dramatically impact how wheelchair users, parents with prams, blind people and other individuals with reduced mobility use the roads and pavements. It can force these members of the public out onto the road in order to get past the cars putting them at risk of an accident. There are also costly effects from parking on the pavement, councils suggest that pavements and kerbs are not designed to withstand the weight of cars and can induce regular high-cost maintenance, which if isn’t carried out produces further risk for those walking on the pavement.
The transport select committee has opened an inquiry following an online call from avid campaigners and could soon see the ban coming into place. If the new laws are implemented nationwide, any drivers caught parking on the pavement could be fined up to £130. Labour MP Lilian Greenwood, who chairs the committee, said:
“This is an area where some people’s actions cause real difficulties for others. Parking on pavements risks the safety of all groups of people from the littlest to the eldest, with differing needs.”
The MP is keen to hear from the public about the difficulties they find when cars are parked on the pavement and if they have any ideas of solutions that would work in their area.
Nicolas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy said that the blanket ban may not be the best solution.He said:
“There are instances, particularly on Britain’s many narrow residential streets, where drivers believe they are doing the right thing by putting a wheel or two on the kerb so as not to impede road access for other vehicles and emergency services, while also making sure they leave enough space for people to use the pavement, especially wheelchair users and those with buggies.”
A Tricky Decision
The case for an outright ban is not so clear cut, the arguments for both sides are strong. It is clear that anti-social pavement parking – where pavement users cannot get by without stepping out onto the road – needs to be tackled. However, an outright ban is suggested as a step too far from Edmund Kind, AA president.
Councils are looking into ways for the nation to become healthier and tackle climate change, many of their solutions include walking and cycling to work or school. The transport committee understands they must work together with local authorities to ensure there are safe routes for them without obstruction from parked cars.
The highway code states that drivers should not park on the pavement, meaning it is advisory rather than backed by legislation. This could be set to change in the coming months.