Drivers could face £70 fines for parking on the pavement in England if new laws are passed on the recommendation of Parliament’s Transport Committee.
The Committee warned that parking on the pavement “exacerbates isolation and social loneliness” because it can hinder people leaving their homes or cause them to feel unsafe whilst doing so. The Committee also argued that their proposed ban on pavement parking would make life easier for people with disabilities, schoolchildren, and parents with pushchairs.
Pavement parking is a controversial issue. Especially on narrow residential roads, many motorists feel they have no choice but to park on the kerb, to allow road access to other cars and emergency vehicles. But cars parked on the kerb can block pedestrian routes for wheelchair users and the visually impaired.
Currently, pavement parking is only illegal in London, where offending motorists can be hit with a £70 fine.
In April 2019, the Scottish Parliament agreed in principle to legislate against parking on footways, but they have yet to announce an implementation date.
Lillian Greenwood MP, chair of Parliament’s Transport Committee, said the committee is concerned by the lack of progress made given the impact of this issue on the most vulnerable.
She continued: “This is a thorny problem that may be difficult to resolve to the satisfaction of all, but the Government’s inaction has left communities blighted by unsightly and obstructive pavement parking and individuals afraid or unable to leave their homes or safely navigate the streets.”
Councillor David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said councils would welcome the move.
He continued: “Pavement parking puts pedestrians in danger when they are forced to move into the road to get around a vehicle or where there are trip hazards due to damage to the pavement.
“It exacerbates, and is a cause of, social isolation and loneliness for people who feel unable to safely leave their homes or are physically prevented from doing so by pavement parking.”
The RAC has welcomed any changes in the law to help the most vulnerable. However, they warn that a blanket ban may cause problems.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at RAC said: “On Britain’s many narrow residential streets, drivers believe they are doing the right thing by putting a wheel or two on the kerb so as not to impede road access.”
What will the new laws mean?
If the proposed laws are passed, local councils will be able to make it illegal to park on the kerb unless road users have express permission.
At the moment, for roads outside London, it’s only illegal for lorries to park on pavements, but people who park in a dangerous position or obstruct the road can still be fined.
Police and local councils will have a range of criminal and civil sanctions to enforce any new restrictions on pavement parking.
The Transport Committee acknowledged that a national ban would “take time” and advised the government to run an “awareness campaign” about the “negative impacts” in the meantime.
When hiring a vehicle, it is the driver’s responsibility to ensure they abide by the laws of the road. Any penalties or fines picked up whilst in a hire vehicle will be passed on to the driver.