Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

Parking on pavements could be banned with £70 fines for blocking paths

A consultation has been launched on a plan to ban pavement parking across England.

The government wants to make the practice illegal to ease journeys for vulnerable pedestrians including disabled and elderly people and parents pushing prams.

Parking on pavements is currently prohibited in London but elsewhere in the country, it is only banned for lorries.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is consulting on three options, to extend the London-style ban nationwide, make it easier for councils to prohibit pavement parking and to give them the power to fine offenders.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘Parking on pavements means wheelchair users, visually impaired people and parents with pushchairs can be forced into the road, which is not only dangerous, but discourages people from making journeys.

‘A key part of our green, post-Covid recovery will be encouraging more people to choose active travel, such as walking, so it is vital that we make the nation’s pavements accessible for everyone.

‘Pavement parking presents a clear safety risk when parked cars occupy the pavement and force vulnerable pedestrians to move into the road.’

The DfT stated any measures will need to ‘ensure the free-flow of traffic and access for the emergency services’.

A report by the Commons Transport Select Committee in September last year called for a blanket nationwide ban on the ‘blight’ of parking on pavements.

Witnesses told MPs that the worst cases of pavement parking were effectively trapping disabled, elderly and vulnerable people, making them ‘afraid to leave their homes’.

But the AA warned of a ban would have ‘unintended consequences’.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, added: ‘While councils have always had the powers to tackle problem parking, it would be typical if the only time they act is when there is fines income to be had from it.’

Recent research from charity Guide Dogs indicated 32% of people with visual impairments and 48% of wheelchair users are less keen to go out on their own because of antisocial pavement parking.

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