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MPs Urged to Ban Pavement Parking Across the Country

A controversial shift in parking laws but it could help isolated members of society feel more included...

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.

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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?

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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.”

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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...

Simply if a wheelchair can pass, then it should be legal - anything else is going to result in lots of cases of unintended consequences. With stupidly low number of required parking spaces in new developments, cars have to park on roads and that means pavements to keep a usable road width for emergency, service vehicles etc. Add to that outside London there just isn't the public transport available - so a car is essential.

I complete agree with the idea of a ban on parking which restricts the width of the pavement below a certain level so it still safe for all pedestrians including wheelchair, prams and disabled. However plan laws must also be updated to make developers build housing correctly, in a new large development near to me the main roads are still the same width as 50 years ago, insufficient off road park and narrow garages which modern cars cannot used. Result, lots of cars parked on the road/payments. All new estate should have road which can accommodate both safe parking and for vehicles, including emergency to pass. However this will eat in to a tiny percentage of their profit so they will not to the right thing until they have too. Fix both problems ASAP.

It's a nightmare outside my window. Police refuse to take action.

There will be situations where parking on a pavement is the only option for drivers where roads are narrow or indeed there is a high volume of traffic in the road. However, drivers should consider pedestrians, which they all are at some point, as paramount, and therefore not park on pavements causing an obstruction. No pedestrian should be forced to use the road to pass a vehicle. Common sense and consideration should be the most important factors, and not a carte blanche ban.

As already stated it will be down to the width of roads. There are very few roads wide enough to enable cars to park against opposite kerbs and leave sufficient space for moving traffic to pass safely. I cannot see enforcement on current roads because it would simply be wrong to move cars off the pavement to block access on the roads. You'd be just shifting the obstruction. I think a system of Traffic Regulation Orders to target specific problem areas. In addition new build roads to be wider. Good luck to dealing with enforcement and the backlash.

Problem is that the new estates don't have wide enough roads to park on even if everyone parks on one side , they don't allow enough parking space for the cars of the people who live there. We need planning for wider roads and more space

All new housing developments are built with narrow roads such that cars parked on just one side will frequently prevent traffic from passing. Consequently, if there is to be a blanket ban, local authorities must be required to insist on roads of an adequate width to allow cars to pass before adopting them.

Councils are also to blame. They built council houses with huge front gardens but nowhere to park the numerous cars in the household. I have 4 cars in my household and I had to pay for driveways to be put in. If they can afford a car they can afford to have a drive put in. Some of my neighbours NEVER use their drives because they are LAZY.

Surely MP's have something better to be discussing right now.

The Highways act 1980 states 'Obstruction of the highway is an offence" Thanks to many rulings over the years, highway has been clarified as any part of a road, footpath or verge. Therefore any part of a publicly owned road, footpath etc is considered by police and civil enforcement officers to be highway. Where I live in Shropshire, there are many new small and not so small housing developments, some not so new (some well over 5 years old) however the highways on these still have not been adopted by the authority in public ownership, and therefore are owned by the developer, and no laws ref obstruction of the highway applies. Reference the pavement parking issue, there are a huge number of roads in the area which would be impassable if people parked fully on the road area.

Because there aren't enough of them to do the jobs they're meant to be doing, certainly aren't enough to do things which frankly other agencies should be able to deal with.

All very well to ban pavement parking, how will local councils enforce it? Here they struggle to enforce existing red routes and single and double yellow line. Luton Borough Council by the way. So good luck.

It's nothing to do with laziness, anybody who pays vehicle tax is entitled to park their vehicle their vehicle on a road,, bearing in mind the obvious caveat of abiding by restrictions..

In Wandsworth and Merton the roads are so narrow the council recommends partial parking on the pavement to allow the free movement of road users, as there is insufficient space to park all the cars. How will this work with these rules?

FEELS entitled to Park

I live in a quiet suburban street where every home has a drive way large enough for three cars. The problem is that the newer, younger residents are too bone idle to use them preferring to not only obstruct the pavement but also make it difficult for some people to get out of their drives. Also I have seen people who have 2 or more cars buying houses with no off road parking. The answer to this is simple. Streets without off road parking to have double yellows down one side and each property allocated one resident permit. If you want more cars make your own arrangements regarding parking. If not, catch a bus

Restrict resident permit parking to one per property

Cheaper insurance to park off road would encourage some. We enlarged our drive to accommodate 3 cars or 2 with easy entry/exit. We live on a road that is too narrow to park both sides but with grass verge that could be used if really required. New estates don't have nice old trees to protect the pavement as in the picture above. They should be planned better but since some have tiny gardens the option to convert as we have done is less easy. And with the housing prices many young folk can't afford to move away so stay "at home" but now with their own car(s) in addition to those of the parents.

Problem is that most of the housing in the country was built before cars were common place, thus where I live there are rows and rows of terrace housing built on both sides of a road, just 2 car widths wide. Without parking on the pavement half the houses would have nowhere to park; and if a household has 2 or more cars or a works vehicle... When developers build new houses they should be forced to include a minimum of 2 off road parking spaces; don't include garages as these are frequently used as an extra space for storage. Husband & wives generally have a car each nowadays and when the kids get old enough...?

MP’s have had over three years to discuss brexit to no avail. Enough is enough. Their idea of democracy seems to be us doing whatever they think best, have forgotten who works for who and who pays their bloody wages.

If the pavement is wide enough for wheelchairs and prams to pass through it should be allowed to park on the pavement to allow room for emergency services and refuse vehicles

yes that would work well in the town where i grew up. to this day there are 2 buses. per WEEK. one on a tuesday (i believe) and the other on a Friday. which means you can leave town for a total of 1.5 hours. yes thats going to help the younger people get employment when they cant park a car anywhere because of local parking restrictions during the daytime in summer when they cant park at (or remotely near)home and the nearest large towns with jobs (or a Jobcentre) being 25+ miles away! and those towns have similar parking issues! im going to go out on a limb and guess that you live in a fairly major city, probably in the southern half of the UK (Manchester/Leeds or below) and as such hasnt been forgotten about when such infrastructure is being funded!

The councils will have to start creating a lot of car parks if this happens as new estates are not wide enough to park a car on both sides and a third vehicle to pass between and where you have areas with a lot of terraces it is already impossible to park

What is a bus we have not had any buses for 10 years

No I live in Swansea which hasn’t exactly been overwhelmed with investment. The days of jobs for life on your doorstep are a thing of the past. People have always moved to where the work is. The reality is it’s easier for kids to stay at home and afford nice things while we pay the bills.

It’s permitted on our estate otherwise refuse vehicles or fire engines etc would not be able to pass between parked cars

The reality where i live is that people cant AFFORD to get their own place as rents have become ridiculous and getting a council rental is nearly impossible. buying now means huge deposits as the house prices have shot through the roof over the years (when i left school i could buy 3 bedroom houses in my home town for £60-70k, now theyre £200k 27 years later) and yet my wages havent more than tripled to go along with that! i moved to where the jobs were. then suddenly the borders were opened and the jobs dried up. draw from that whatever conclusions you like. so i moved again. and once again the work dried up, in an area decimated by lack of funding and governments killing off job prospects in the trades people know and have skills for, so they are ousted as its cheaper to get trained people from elsewhere rather than retrain the local workforce. as a result i, and many more like me, cant get work and cant afford to move either (plus i have children i wouldnt be able to see if i moved again)

It is KERB not CURB. Check a dictionary

CURB is the American spelling.

If it were in my purview, I'd ban street parking on Bus Routes, unless there is room for street parking AND two buses to pass each other easily.


Hey Steve, I agree with most you are saying and I hate it when I see cars parked on pavements for sometimes no reason at all. I live on a Victorian street where there are no driveways at all. Residents park on both sides of the road, some on the pavement and some not. In any case it turns it into a single track road and there is a lot of reversing going on if you meet a car coming the other way! Pavement parking doesn’t help this so it is pointless here. What I will say is that in general people need to be more considerate and park close to other cars to make space for others to park. Frequently I see people leaving massive gaps, there is no excuse - if your car is too big for you or you find it difficult to park, take some lessons, don’t let others suffer due to your shortcomings. With regards to parking on one side only, it wouldn’t work. A normal car space is the width of a terrace house so there would be half a road of cars who cannot park. Plus then there is the issue of multi car houses. I agree that everyone should be made equal in the situation I describe and have one car parking allowance per household. If you choose to have more vehicles it is the responsibility of that household to make arrangements to park it somewhere so it is fair to other residents and doesn’t cause an obstruction. Vans/commercial vehicles should be parked at a place of work. Not only are they too big for a road like mine but they are an eyesore and block an entire view if parked in front of someone’s house. I welcome any comments from others. Peace motorists!

I am all for banning parking on the pavement, on our avenue nearly every car parks on the pavement so nobody hoe ever there circumstances can use it but put a ban on it where do they park? If all the cars are parked on the road then you cannot use it to drive on?? Never mind emergency vehicles.

Totally agree. A nation wide ban would be bonkers.

Think we have lost track of original question my friend. What I may not have explained well is that I follow the good paying work. I stay in digs and the family see me weekends unless Its worth my while working

It's ok banking parking but we're are all the cars going to go what about disabled people why not band one side of the the streets and ambulance crews and police can get up and down and use permits for all cars there is no where else to park the cars and vans

Peter, when has Manchester and Leeds been in the south?!!

Technically parking on the pavement is an offence regardless of any new law. It is illegal to drive on the pavement therefor if you are parked on the pavement you have broken the law. Most of the roads in the town I live are wide enough to park both sides and leave room for buses to pass but people still park on the pavement to protect their wing mirrors and car. If people parked on the road the drivable space would be narrower but cars would be driven more slowly. Pavements are also not built to take the weight of cars. If you convert your front garden to a driveway the kerb has to be lowered and the pavement reinforced so as not to damage gas, electric, water and cable. There are plenty of videos online of pavements exploding because water has ingress into cracked electric cables. There is no excuse for parking on pavements. If people cannot except having to leave their cars a distance from their home if there is no available parking then they should move to a property where the roads are wider or where the property has room for off road parking.

Totally agree!

I also agree with most of what you say If I was that way inclined I would marry you and solve all the problems in the world

What ever happened to No waiting this side odd dates, and No waiting this side even dates? I don't see that any more it kept one side of the road clear so there was no need for parking on the pavement. But that solution has gone so we rely on drivers using a little common sense, two words that many drivers don't know the meaning of. The pavement was put there for pedestrians, push chairs, and wheelchairs, if you have no alternative to parking on the pavement please make sure there is room for them to get past without the need to go into the road. it isn't rocket science.

Oh you make me blush Steve. Unfortunately I’m already married otherwise the world would have been sorted! ????

Shame about that amigo Nice to chat

Another brain dead mp idea then, one that has clearly never drove for a living doing delivery's...

Has anyone a 'right' to park on the street? Your house does not extend into the street even though you may have an obligation to keep the pavement safe. Truth is, if the law was upheld, there would be nowhere to keep your car except on your own premises or some distant car park. Roads intended to be two way highways should ban cars parking on one side if they narrow the road to a single lane - this would be mighty unpopular. With an election coming, will governments make 'mighty unpopular' decisions even if it is for the general good? In a democracy, it is necessary to take 'mighty unpopular' decisions at the beginning of a Parliament. It won't be possible to clear millions of cars overnight - they can't be made to 'disappear'! The council made a decision to ban parking on one side of a street near me about a year ago - notices on lamp posts etc. which was so unpopular that they rescinded their decision.

Ban people parking outside their homes on bus routes. Ban all pavement parking - if the road is not wide enough, the cars will have to find one that is or open their gate and park on their own property. Paving is so damaged it is dangerous for a bike or wheelchair.

I am disabled in a wheel chair and can not use the pavement to even see my neighbour because cars are parked on the pavement right up to residents walls so there is no way a wheelchair, pushchair or even a blind person can use the pavement for what it is intended. The local council don't want to know, they say if it's causing an obstruction call the police, the police don't want to know unless I am actually blocked in on my drive. It's totally discusting that just because we are different or old we get ignored. The worse part was an ambulance came up the road and could not turn around because of the way these cars are parked. I had to move my car around in my drive so the ambulance could use it to get it's turning circle. Something needs to be done urgently.

In my area alot of people park on the footpath even though the road is wide enough for car to park on the road as they should .i have told the police and council and they will not do anything about it .i have even shown them video footage and the way the cars park and still do nothing at all even when a lady on a mobility scooter couldnt get past they still ignored it .THAT WHAT WE PAY THE COUNCIL TAX FOR .HA .WE PAY COUNCIL TAX FOR FOOTPATHS WE CANT USE AND POLICE TO STOP THIS KINDA BEHAVIOUR .In my area they just will not lift a finger I asked council and police when someone gets killed for going on the road because they cant walk on a FOOTPATH will you do something then .They said they will look into it .WHAT A JOKE .Im in bradford by the way .Need i say more .Cars in my area speed at stupid speeds too and still nothing has been done .but im ORDERED to pay for services i dont get .WE ARE ORDERED TO PAY .LETS FACE IT THIS COUNTRY IS A JOKE .Im ashamed to live in this country .POINTLESS EVEN WRITING ABOUT THE PROBLEMS BECAUSE NOTHING WILL EVER BE DONE .BUT WE WILL STILL PAY FOR THE SERVICES .Here is a clue for people who read this .FOOTPATH . THATS FOOT PATH .dummies .

I am disabled and use a pavement mobility scooter.. I would be happy to allow pavement parking provided that there is unobstructed pavement width of at least, say two metres so that the disabled and pushchairs are not forced into the road. In addition drivers could expect that their vehicles could get damaged when prams, pushchairs and scooters push past to avoid being forced onto a dangerous road

Well said pedestrians, mother's with children, and the disabled should never be forced off the pavement onto the road