MPs call for nationwide ban on pavement parking

11.13 | 9 September 2019 | | | 12 comments

The Government should introduce a nationwide ban on pavement parking, according to a group of MPs who say they are “deeply concerned” about the issue.

In a new report published by the Transport Committee, MPs warn that pavement parking “disproportionately affects” elderly and disabled people – and leaves some “afraid to leave their homes”.

The report calls for calls a ban on pavement parking to be put in place across England – with a new process for exempting areas from the ban that is not as ‘expensive or complicated’ as the current process. 

At present, a mix of criminal and civil sanctions are available to police and local councils to enforce restrictions on pavement parking on private or commercial drivers.  

Parking on footways or pavements was banned in London in 1974, and is prohibited for large goods vehicles across England.

Meanwhile in Scotland, a national ban on pavement parking appears close, after proposals received backing from Holyrood earlier this year.

In April, the Transport Committee launched an inquiry to explore the problems of pavement parking in England, and consider possible solutions.

Their findings – which are laid out in the report published today – recognise that a ban cannot be introduced quickly, and therefore recommends a full consultation with local authorities about how to make the process easier and cheaper.

The committee also encourages the Government to run an awareness campaign around the illegality of driving on the pavement and the negative impacts of pavement parking.

The report reads: “We are deeply concerned about the Government’s failure to act on this issue, despite long-standing promises to do so. 

“We appreciate that 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. 

“Scotland is currently legislating for a national ban, while London took action to tackle this issue 45 years ago. 

“The Government must act to improve the situation in the rest of England and it must do so quickly.”



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    Pat’s point I think sums up what will always be the sticking-point in trying to get people to use transport other than their own private car – convenience and practicality! Walking, running, cycling and even bus rides – for me anyway – are occasional, recreational pursuits and I wouldn’t want them to be my only options. One other point – strictly speaking, there is no such thing as ‘legal on-street parking’ (c/way or f/way) – it is only legal in designated official spaces, otherwise technically, it’s obstruction.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I agree entirely with Rod’s comment about the prevailing but wrong attitude of having a right to park. The reality is that legal on-street parking is a first-come-first-served free-for-all, unfortunately with plenty of people losing out. (We don’t have residents only parking).

    By all means improve the availability of public transport for those that want to use those services. However free public transport is not attractive to me if it does not go from where I am to where I want to be, direct and at a time that suits me and particularly when I am carrying something. That is why I use a car for PERSONAL transport (and a motorbike just for fun).

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

    Well with 1.5m new private cars registered in the first 8 months of the year at an average price of £20,000 and extrapolated to 12 months that comes to £450,000,000,000 spent on replacement or new cars. The question is whether that £450,000,000,000 could not have been better spent in other ways which would have reduced our private car dependency. And that doesn’t even touch on the billions being sent on new roads to attempt to cope with the result of those additional cars.

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (0) | Disagree (4)

    > Rather than investing billions of private money into cars that rapidly depreciate and cause congestion, shouldn’t we be investing in regular, low-cost (even free) public transport that we can all share.

    Do you know how much that costs?

    For a city the size of London, it would be on the scale of billions of pounds a year. Money that TfL no longer has. Why do you think the ULEZ fines are set so high?

    And out in the provinces? Newcastle’s metro and the Merseyrail scheme seem to be one of a few non-TfL services that offer decent value for money for an entire day’s travel over a relatively large network

    David Weston, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
    Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

    Part of the problem we have is that some people assume that 3-4 cars per household is both a norm and comes with an inalienable right to abandon such vehicles in close a proximity to that household.

    When someone says “Where I live in the suburbs, there’s not enough parking for the 3-4 cars per household” then they are stating the obvious. There is not enough room so don’t get the 2nd, 3rd or 4th car.

    Rather than investing billions of private money into cars that rapidly depreciate and cause congestion, shouldn’t we be investing in regular, low-cost (even free) public transport that we can all share.

    Rod King, Lymm
    Agree (1) | Disagree (3)

    Do we need this law? Isn’t already covered by rule 145 and in part rule 244 of the Highway Code? Where I live in the suburbs, there’s not enough parking for the 3-4 cars per household and if cars weren’t parked partly on the pavement, vehicles wouldn’t be able to pass through the estate. The roadways is my estate are just 5 metres wide, I take my hat off to the refuse lorry drivers reversing down the street around the parked cars, it’s amazing to watch.

    The next issue is enforcement, there’s a number of DYL’s in my village, enforcement of those only happens on the main road and if your lucky once a fortnight Swansea Council’s camera car will drive past and catch them. So if the city planners haven’t done their jobs up until now in ensuring there’s enough width to allow car parking, what are people to do?

    I’m not trying to say that people should park on pavements, they are forced to by poor planning and a non-existent affordable public transport system (that necessitates owning a car).

    So it will be another unenforceable law like smoking in vehicles (in Wales we have no smoking in cars with children present) and the soon to be enacted smacking ban.

    Gavin Hughes, Swansea
    Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

    In the case of the picture at the head of the article…… Remove all through traffic and civilise the street, remove the kerbs and footways and require parking parallel to and adjacent to the property boundary. Pedestrians and vulnerable users then walk in what is currently the carriageway and motor traffic restricted to 5mph (and following a red flag!). Only progressive objections please, accompanied by deliverable solutions.

    Peter Treadgold, London
    Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

    Yeah I agree it’s a disgrace I take my 93 year old neighbor to the post office and she struggles to walk as it is without going onto the road to avoid ignorant people who only think of themselves. Now all you have to do is get the police to pull their fingers out and do something. Where I stay we don’t even have traffic wardens and the police won’t give out tickets for people parking on double yellow lines I have a bit behind my flats we’re it’s clearly marked no parking turning area only in huge white writing and people park there all the time the council says it’s a police matter and vice versa it’s a disgrace we’re becoming a lawless country it’s putting people’s lives at risk from the elderly to young parents who have kids in prams and sometimes even toddlers walking with them

    Steven Fraser, Elgin moray
    Agree (3) | Disagree (4)

    Probably the greatest problem caused by pavement parking is obstruction to the various “non-motorised users” And those most affected are the most vulnerable people in our communities. There are plenty of drivers parking on pavements where there are already DYLs as they are willing to take a chance on getting away with it.

    The answer is obviously more resources for enforcement (self-financing?) and to make obstruction an easily enforceable fixed penalty offence. I am NOT in favour of a blanket ban on pavement parking as there are so many instances where parking partly on the pavement may not be a particular problem. Along with the peculiarities in St Albans and similar.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (8) | Disagree (2)

    The hubub about potential banning of pavement parking ignores the fact that in Hemel Hempstead (and for all I know other towns, ) pavement parking is encouraged, parking bays are marked out on the pavement and the roads run much more freely as they are uncluttered by parked vehicles. The pavements are very wide with space for both parked vehicles and pedestrians. See attached photos.

    Robert Bolt, St Abans
    Agree (12) | Disagree (1)

    Firstly I agree that hindering the function of a footway is not acceptable, but this is not the same as ANY pavement parking, because some of that will not actually cause a problem.
    However the report’s recommendations are not pragmatic and will not be acted upon. Myself and a few other respondents asked the simple question: For areas where there is a regular and real problem (i.e. people cannot actually get past)then why not just use double yellow lines and enforce those. Parking restrictions are designed to reflect the needs of all road users and should be the first port of call where there is an actual problem evidenced. Sledgehammer options cannot be right.

    Peter Whitfield, Liverpool
    Agree (8) | Disagree (6)

    Unfortunately, motorists follow by example and copy the bad habits of others. I can remember a time when it would have been very rare to see any part of a car on the footway – let alone all four wheels – but now it has become the default parking position, even when leaving it on the c/way would not have been a problem anyway. Worse is when householders park their vehicle on the footway outside their house, even where there is a vacant driveway plus, invariably, an overgrown hedge forcing peds into the c/way.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (9) | Disagree (1)

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