News story

Freeing pedestrians from pavement parking blight

Councils told to use their powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The government is making it easier for councils to tackle pavement parking and stop it causing an obstruction to pedestrians, Regional and Local Transport Minister, Norman Baker, announced today (21 February 2011).

Vehicles parked on pavements can cause particular problems for people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and those with pushchairs. The minister has today written to councils prompting them to use their powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem.

Along with the letter, the Department for Transport has given all councils in England permission to use signs to indicate a local pavement parking ban. Until now councils have had to gain special signs authorisation from government each time they want to put a pavement parking ban in place.

While in some circumstances pavement parking is unavoidable - for example in narrow residential roads with no off-street parking - the government believes that in many cases it can be avoided. Pavement parking is completely banned in London.

Norman Baker said:

Parking on the pavement can be selfish and dangerous, putting pedestrians - especially those with disabilities or using pushchairs - in danger. If a vehicle is blocking the pavement then people often have no choice but to walk in the road where they are at much greater risk of being involved in an accident.

Most drivers are considerate and do not park on the pavement unless it is permitted or necessary. However, there is a selfish minority who do not use their common sense and dump their cars wherever it suits them without a second thought for others.

I hope that reducing the bureaucracy involved in banning pavement parking will make it easier for councils to use their powers to tackle this nuisance and make life safer for everyone.

Dai Powell OBE, Chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee:

Inconsiderate parking on pavements can stop disabled people from gaining access to services and can also put them at great risk if having to resort to using roads. This practice also damages pavements, causing trip hazards and costing local councils who have to undertake repairs.

DPTAC welcomes the move by the minister encouraging local councils to use their powers to enforce the law, freeing our pavements to make them accessible to all.

Further information

In most areas of England (outside London), any specific footway parking ban is applied locally and indicated by traffic signs. A local authority can make a traffic regulation order to prohibit footway parking on a designated length of highway or over a wider area. This means the Council can target problem areas rather than applying a blanket ban.

Every English traffic authority has today been issued with the special authorisation necessary to use the appropriate signs.

Local authorities with civil parking enforcement powers can enforce this ban along with the Road Traffic Act 1988 prohibition on heavy goods vehicles parking on the pavement.

Pavement parking in London is banned by the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974.

Local authorities can use physical measures such as high kerbs or bollards to prevent vehicles mounting the footway where footway parking is a particular problem. Such measures have the advantage of being largely self-enforcing.

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Published 21 February 2011