The Government is planning to extend laws from London to the whole of the country, allowing Local Authorities to fine motorists for parking on the pavement. In extending the London by-law, motorists may find themselves facing a £70 fine.
So what is the current position?
London has had a ban on parking on the pavement for over 4 decades. Exceptions to the rule are marked with special blue parking signs and sometimes white bay lines to show how far onto the pavement a car can park.
Nationally however, the position is very different. There is currently no ban on pavement parking across England and Wales. One was included in the Road Traffic Act 1974, but it was never enacted and was eventually repealed in 1991.
What is the purpose of the Government's proposal?
By removing obstructions from pavements, the aim is to make streets safer and encourage more people to walk. The Department for Transport is committed to examining parking outside London as part of their recent cycling and walking investment strategy.
This strategy is expected to make pavement parking illegal unless the Local Authority grants an exemption and allows motorists to mount the kerb.
What will be the effect of extending the law?
If rolled out across the country, Local Authorities will be allowed to ban parking on pavements over wide areas and make it a civil offence to park on the pavement of an urban road. Effectively, parking on the pavement will be prohibited unless the Local Authority has said otherwise.
At the present time, the reverse is true, parking on the pavement is generally allowed, except where there are restrictions or an offence has been committed. This may seem odd considering that driving on the pavement is illegal, as is causing an obstruction.
What does the Highway Code say?
The position as set out in the Highway Code is that "You must not park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it."
How has this news been received?
While road safety campaigners and disability groups are expected to welcome the proposed ban, others have expressed concern that the new powers will be abused by Local Authorities, who have been accused of using driving and parking infractions as a means to boost revenue.
Edmund King, from the AA stated "The concern would be that Local Authorities will be able to ban pavement parking without looking at the consequences and without studying the alternative." He went on to say "Getting rid of pavement parking is fine – but only if you then remove some of the redundant double-yellow lines in order to create space elsewhere."