Walking and disability campaigners have renewed their call for action to curb parking on pavements in England, drawing attention to the lack of action by the UK government despite extensive discussions and a public consultation. It has been three years since the Department for Transport’s consultation into pavement parking in England closed but no change in law or guidance has occurred.
The law regarding parking on pavements varies across the UK. Parking on the pavement is illegal in London, unless there is a signed dispensation. Elsewhere it is covered by criminal and civil law, with different rules in different parts of the country and vastly different experiences of enforcement. There is no blanket prohibition in the rest of the UK, but the police can take action if a driver is causing an obstruction.
“It’s time for action on pavement parking,” the government was told in an ‘anniversary card’ signed by over 6,300 people was delivered to 10 Downing Street on 22 November by representatives from Living Streets, the UK charity for everyday walking.
Living Streets was among the many organisations and individuals who responded to the Department for Transport’s Managing Pavement Parking consultation in 2020, calling for clear laws and sharing evidence from their supporters about the issues pavement parking causes. Since then, 1,095 days have passed with no progress. In contrast in Scotland, a nationwide ban is being rolled from 11 December.
Stephen Edwards, chief executive, Living Streets said: “Pavement parking affects us all. It makes streets inaccessible for older and disabled people and forces families with pushchairs into the road. The consultation was a welcome step, but three years is too long for a response. We need to know now how the government intends to tackle pavement parking across England.
“Clear pavements need clear laws. We need a nationwide default ban, with the option to allow pavement parking in certain circumstances, as is currently available in London. This would be much easier for everyone to understand.”
Dr Amit Patel, a disability rights campaigner and trustee of Living Streets, was among those who called at 10 Downing Street. Dr Patel is registered severely sight impaired (blind) having lost his sight overnight in 2013. He said: “Pavement parking makes navigating the streets even harder for someone like me who is visually impaired. “I love walking my children to school but the journey can quickly become unsafe when someone blocks our path, forcing me into the road and into oncoming traffic. It’s dangerous, it’s scary and it needs to stop.”
Research by YouGov for Living Streets reveals that a quarter of over-65s are prevented from leaving their home because of obstructed pavements, equating to nearly 3 million people and some 87% of parents report they have been forced into the road because of vehicles blocking pavements. Only 5% of drivers are aware of all aspects of the current law on pavement parking, which differs between London and the rest of Great Britain, revealed a YouGov poll for the charity Guide Dogs, which is also calling for a ban on pavement parking.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Everyone should be able to navigate their streets without obstacle and we’ll continue to work with local authorities and charities to keep pavements clear wherever possible. In 2020, we launched a consultation to explore options for tackling pavement parking and better equip councils to take action, and we’ll publish the response as soon as possible.”
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