In a report into the practice of ‘pavement parking’, which sees a vehicle parked with one or more wheels on the pavement, the House of Commons Transport Select Committee criticised the government’s inaction on the problem and asked that it be outlawed. The group, which is made up of MPs from various parties, said the problem was so large that it left people “afraid or unable to leave their homes”.
Pavement parking is already banned in London, except where exemptions are explicitly signposted, and the Transport Select Committee wants the government to take a similar approach across England. However, until the legislation can be prepared, the committee wants the government to create a “national awareness campaign to highlight the negative consequences of pavement parking” and “consult on a new offence of obstructive pavement parking”.
Lilian Greenwood, the MP for and the chair of the Transport Select Committee, said the government’s “failure” to take action on the issue was a “concern”, and the practice was causing problems - particularly for those with children or mobility issues.
“Pavement parking has a huge impact on people's lives and their ability to get around their communities,” she said. “Motorists may feel they have no choice but to park on the pavement and many try to do so in a considerate way, but evidence to our inquiry revealed the impact on those with visual and mobility impairments and people with children.
“We are deeply concerned that the government has failed to act on this issue, despite long-standing promises to do so. 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.
“In the long term we believe the government should ban pavement parking across England - as is already the case in London. Local authorities could create exemptions if they choose to do so, but drivers would know that unless it was expressly permitted it was illegal to park their car on the pavement.
“We recognise that implementing a nationwide ban will take time. In the short-term we have said the government should make it easier for local authorities to put in place parking restrictions by removing some of the bureaucratic burdens they currently have to contend with. We have also recommended the government run an awareness campaign about the negative impacts of pavement parking, to inform drivers about the impact their behaviour has on others.”
The recommendation was supported by the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales. The organisation’s transport spokesman, Cllr David Renard, said the practice was causing problems for residents and costing the council money.
“We are pleased that the Committee has joined the LGA in recommending an extension to the ban on pavement parking to all areas of England,” he said. “Pavement parking and damaged pavements is one of the biggest complaints from pedestrians – and not just in London. Similarly, repairing kerbs and pavements damaged by pavement parking is expensive and this funding could be better used to repair potholes and provide more suitable parking.
“We urge government to bring forward legislation to ban pavement parking, with councils able to create exemptions if they want to, and steps to facilitate a transition to a new law, at the earliest opportunity.”