The UK government has announced plans to ban antisocial parking in a bid to make pavements safer for families and people with disabilities.
Three options have been proposed by the Department for Transport: making it easier for councils to ban pavement parking in their areas, giving councils powers to fine drivers who park on paths and an outright ban. The public consultation period, now open, will run until 22 November this year.
The proposals come in the wake of a review that found that a third of visually impaired people and almost half of wheelchair users were less willing to go out alone because of “antisocial” pavement parking.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Parking on pavements means wheelchair users, visually impaired people and parents with pushchairs can be forced into the road, which is not only dangerous but [also] discourages people from making journeys.
“A key part of our green, post-Covid recovery will be encouraging more people to choose active travel, such as walking, so it’s vital that we make the nation’s pavements accessible for everyone.”
The importance of opening up pavements to vulnerable pedestrians has been emphasised by a number of bodies, including the Living Streets and Guide Dogs charities.
However, others have sounded caution. The AA’s head of roads policy, Jack Cousens, said: “A driver who deliberately parks in an obstructive manner and blocks the path of any pedestrian should expect to be punished.
“However, an outright ban on pavement parking could cause a series of unintended consequences. As we have seen over the past few weeks with road closures and narrowed roads, councils have acted with little consultation and in many cases lost confidence of the communities they serve.
“Local authorities should make a street-by-street assessment and, where pavement parking is allowed, markings should show how much pavement can be used. While councils have always had the powers to tackle problem parking, it would be typical if the only time they act is when there’s fines income to be had from it.”