The Department for Transport has come under fire from the Transport Committee for failing to take action on pavement parking. Pavement parking is something we see all too often, as both pedestrians and as drivers. It’s something that a lot of drivers wrongly consider to be harmless, but in reality, it can have some serious knock-on effects to peoples lives. MPs have been told that it can lead to social isolation for particularly vulnerable members of our society, yet the problem persists…
What is pavement parking?
Technically, it’s just being parked with any of your wheels mounting the pavement. Now, if the pavement is 6 feet wide and free of any road furniture (such as bollards, signs etc…) then there is no real problem. However, if two wheels are mounted on the curb and the footpath makes it difficult or impossible for wheelchair users to get through, then this is a real problem. This is the exact grey area which is causing a stir in parliament. Obstructions also endanger pedestrians using walking frames, prams, pushchairs and also guide dogs.
Pavement parking put simply, is just when a car is partly or wholly parked on the pavement.
What does the law say?
Well, again, it’s a bit obscure. Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes are not allowed to park on the pavement at all. No ifs, no buts.
The Highway Code states you "MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it"
The use of the term ‘MUST NOT’ makes this rule legally binding for the people in the City of London, however, the use of the term ‘should not’ means it is not legally binding outside of London. So it is not a criminal offence to park on the pavement outside of London, but it is illegal to drive on the pavement, whether you intend to park there or not… See how this is all getting rather complicated?
Well, it gets worse. The Highway Code also states: “You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road." So is it ok to cause obstructions to the pavement? Who knows?
The first consultations to ban pavement parking started in 2015 and they were wholly inconclusive, so nothing came of it back then but the debate has resurfaced. The Head of the Transport Select Committee, Lillian Greenwood, stated: “We are deeply concerned that the Government has failed to act on this issue.
“In the short-term, we have said that 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.
“In the long-term, we believe the Government should ban pavement parking across England – as is already the case in London.”
Jesse Norman, head of the Department for Transport, has responded: “The department [DfT] is now undertaking a broader piece of work to gather evidence on the issue of pavement parking. We expect to be able to draw conclusions later this year.”
What would the punishment be?
It’s difficult to predict what the punishment for pavement parking would be. It would be easy to suggest that the fines will be roughly the same as what they are in London, so up to £130 - reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days.
Would it work where you live?
Outside of London, particularly in areas surrounding city centres, we have a lot of grid-iron terraced housing in the UK, which means there are high concentrations of families on tight, narrow roads. Hypothetically, if every car on your road parked with all 4 wheels the correct side of the curb, would an Ambulance or a Fire Engine still be able to get through? Are you in favour of pavement parking being completely outlawed? Make sure you let us know in the comments section down below...