New proposals to tackle pavement parking have been set out by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as part of a consultation set to take place in the summer.
The Government says its proposals are designed to improve the lives of people with mobility or sight impairments, as well as parents with prams who may be forced into the road to get around parked cars.
The 12-week consultation will include options such as allowing local authorities with civil parking enforcement powers to crack down on unnecessary obstruction of the pavement. Currently, outside London, only police have this power.
It will also consider how a nationwide ban on pavement parking enforced by local authorities might work, allowing for any necessary exceptions or designated spots for pavement parking where needed, and how a tailored approach may be required in rural and suburban areas which face very different challenges.
Shapps said: “Vehicles parked on the pavement can cause very real difficulties for many pedestrians.
“That’s why I am taking action to make pavements safer and I will be launching a consultation to find a long-term solution for this complex issue.
“We welcome the Transport Select Committee’s recent report and share their drive to tackle pavement parking and improve people’s daily lives.”
In 2019 the Department for Transport concluded a review which looked at the problems caused by pavement parking, the effectiveness of legislation, and the case for reform.
It found that pavement parking was problematic for 95% of respondents who are visually impaired and 98% of wheelchair users.
The Transport Select Committee also recently conducted an inquiry into the issue, with the commitment to consult on proposals forming a key part of the Government’s response to its findings.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Blocking pavements impacts most on those with disabilities and those pushing buggies and creates unnecessary danger for pedestrians. In short, nobody should be forced into stepping into the road to get around a vehicle that has taken up pavement space, so the Government is right to explore giving local authorities additional powers to enforce this types of selfish parking.
“However, outlawing pavement parking as a whole is more complex because not all streets in the UK are the same. For example, some drivers will put a tyre up the kerb on a narrow residential street to avoid restricting road access to other vehicles while still allowing plenty of space for pedestrian access. Therefore better guidance and a definition of what is and isn’t appropriate would be a more practical solution, rather than an outright ban.”