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Government to consult on calls for pavement parking ban

Government to consult on calls for pavement parking ban
25th March 2020 Ian Streets

The government has announced plans to look into banning motorists throughout England from parking on pavements, according to a report from BBC online.

However the AA has responded by calling for more selective action, saying local authorities should identify the streets where the problem is particularly severe.

The BBC reports that with the exception of London – where a ban has been in place since 1974 – only lorries are currently prevented from pavement parking.

The consultation was announced following the call from the House of Commons transport committee last year for a nationwide ban on the “blight” of parking on pavements.

Witnesses told the committee that the worst cases of pavement parking were effectively trapping disabled, elderly and vulnerable people, making them “afraid to leave their homes”.

The cross-party group said blocked-off walkways were also exacerbating the issue of loneliness in Britain.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Vehicles parked on the pavement can cause very real difficulties for many pedestrians.”

He said the consultation would look at a variety of options, including giving local authorities extended powers to crack down on this behaviour.

Conservative MP Huw Merriman, who chairs the transport committee, welcomed the consultation, noting that the government had promised in 2015 to look into the issue but consultations and reviews had failed to improve roadside conditions.

He said: “This government has signalled an intent to finally deliver change.”

One of the main aims of a ban would be to prevent pedestrians, including wheelchair users, people with baby buggies and visually impaired people, from being obstructed.

But the BBC reported it is also about limiting damage to footways – unlike roads, pavements are not designed to take the weight of vehicles.

In London, the rules apply to almost all streets and those who flout them can be given a parking ticket of up to £100 and be towed away – even if just one or two wheels are parked on the footway.

Exceptions to the ban include vehicles that have been exempted by councils and for unloading or loading when there is no other method available.

The BBC reports that a YouGov survey in 2018 found 65 per cent of drivers admitted to having previously parked on the pavement. It also noted that last year Scotland became the first country in the UK to legislate against pavement parking, with a ban due to come in next year.

The AA said it agreed that people who park in an anti-social way should be penalised but it added: “An outright ban could lead to unintended consequences with parking chaos becoming more widespread.

“A better solution would be for councils to make a street-by-street assessment and where pavement parking could be allowed it be clearly marked and signed.”

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