Pavement Parking

4th April 2017

Over the last few years the issue of pavement parking is one that I have been contacted about on many occasions, and also one which has been debated at great length by the Government.

Vehicles parked on pavements can cause particular problems for people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments, as well as those with pushchairs, and they can also cause serious damage to kerbs and paving stones which may not be designed to withstand the weight of a vehicle, and hence require costly repairs funded by the Council.

Improving access for disabled people is a key priority, not only for the Government, but also one that I have personally taken up, raising the issue of pavement parking with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Devon County Council on numerous occasions. 

However, it should be noted that in some streets pavement parking may be inevitable to maintain free passage of traffic, especially important for the emergency services, creating a clear barrier to a blanket ban on all pavement parking, and meaning that it is important for local authorities to be able to decide on local parking restrictions themselves. The cost of a blanket ban for local authorities is also prohibitive as they would have to review every road in their area, changing signage where required.

During 2016, the DfT worked with a range of stakeholders to examine the legal and financial implications of an alternative pavement parking regime, and the likely impacts on local authorities. This included a roundtable between Ministers and key stakeholders, to help inform the DfT’s evidence base on this issue.  A key issue identified was the process for putting in place Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for the enforcement of pavement parking. The DfT is therefore now considering how best to address the general improvement of the TRO-making process and will provide further information once this is available.

Steps have already been taken to make it easier for councils to tackle this issue. Any local authority that has taken up civil enforcement powers, such as Devon County Council, may introduce a ban on pavement parking where it sees fit. In 2011, Conservative Ministers gave all councils authorisation to use a sign banning parking on the pavement, removing the need to ask Whitehall first for permission.

With this in mind, Ministers have written to councils on several occasions, encouraging them to use their available powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem. The Department has also published guidance for traffic authorities, highlighting the difficulties that pavement parking causes for pedestrians and detailing ways that it can be prevented.


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