Scotland has become the first UK country to ban pavement parking, in a move that has been described as ‘historic’.
On 10 October, MSPs at Holyrood voted to approve the Transport (Scotland) Bill – meaning it will now become law.
The Bill, first introduced by Derek Mackay MSP in June 2018, contains provisions to prohibit pavement parking – which is not currently a specific offence in Scotland. It replaces existing laws on obstruction and pavement parking, which have previously been described as ‘unenforceable’.
Living Streets Scotland has applauded the ‘historic’ decision and urged England and Wales to follow suit.
Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, said: “This is the first nationwide ban put in place in the UK and represents the culmination of over a decade of campaigning by Living Streets Scotland and disability charities.
“People in wheelchairs, parents with pushchairs and older adults who are currently forced into oncoming traffic when faced with vehicles blocking their path will now be able to enjoy a new freedom.”
Joe Irvin, chief executive of Living Streets, said: “The Scottish Government has demonstrated a commitment to accessibility for all by passing this law. England and Wales should not delay in following Scotland’s lead.
“It’s high time that everyone can use our streets safely and enjoy the benefits that come from being active, outside and connected to their local community.”
Clause leads to concerns over enforcement
Despite applauding the move, Living Streets has expressed concern over a clause, which it says could make the ban more difficult to enforce.
Ahead of the Stage 3 debate of the Bill, the charity urged MSPs to remove the clause, which would see a blanket 20-minute exemption for delivery vehicles.
However, it remains in place – and Living Streets says this will make the ban more difficult to enforce, be open to abuse and continue to lead to damage and obstructions to footways.
Stuart Hay added: “Our concern around the blanket 20-minute exemption for delivery vehicles remains. This clause undermines the goals of preventing obstruction and pavement damage, whilst the enforcement of a waiting time is incredibly impractical.
“The Government should now ensure that supporting guidance and regulations on this exception makes enforcement a simple and practical matter. Parking for loading must be simple to regulate or enforce if councils are to engage with the problem.”
Will the rest of the UK follow suit?
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.
In April this year, the Transport Committee launched an inquiry to explore the problem of pavement parking in England, and consider possible solutions.
Last month, the Committee concluded the Government should introduce a nationwide ban, saying it is “deeply concerned” about the issue.
Meanwhile in Wales, earlier this year, Lee Waters, deputy minister for transport, said the Welsh Government would be putting together an ‘expert group’ to explore ways of clamping down on illegal parking – as well as pavement parkers.