Goverment in bid to drive parkers off the pavement

The Government is making it easier for councils to tackle the blight of pavement parking and stop it causing an obstruction to pedestrians, regional and local transport minister Norman Baker has announced.

Vehicles parked on pavements can cause particular problems for people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and those with pushchairs. The Minister has written to councils prompting them to use their powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem.

Along with the letter, the Department for Transport has given all councils in England permission to use signs to indicate a local pavement parking ban.

Until now councils have had to gain special signs authorisation from Government each time they want to put a pavement parking ban in place.

While in some circumstances pavement parking is unavoidable – for example in narrow residential roads with no off-street parking – the Government believes that in many cases it can be avoided. Pavement parking is completely banned in London.

Norman Baker said: “Parking on the pavement can be selfish and dangerous, putting pedestrians – especially those with disabilities or using pushchairs – in danger. If a vehicle is blocking the pavement then people often have no choice but to walk in the road where they are at much greater risk of being involved in an accident.

“Most drivers are considerate and do not park on the pavement unless it is permitted or necessary. However, there is a selfish minority who do not use their commonsense and dump their cars wherever it suits them without a second thought for others.

“I hope that reducing the bureaucracy involved in banning pavement parking will make it easier for councils to use their powers to tackle this nuisance and make life safer for everyone.”

Dai Powell OBE, chair of the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, said: “Inconsiderate parking on pavements can stop disabled people from gaining access to services and can also put them at great risk if having to resort to using roads.

“This practice also damages pavements, causing trip hazards and costing local councils who have to undertake repairs.

“DPTAC welcomes the move by the minister encouraging local councils to use their powers to enforce the law, freeing our pavements to make them accessible to all.”