Parking on pavements can cause real problems for pedestrians, especially for wheelchair users, people with visual impairments and those with prams or buggies. However in many narrow streets pavement parking is necessary to maintain free-flowing traffic, including for emergency services and it is not always easy to get the balance right.
Currently in most of England parking on pavements and verges is permitted unless specifically prohibited by a local authority (either street-by-street or zonally) using a formal Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).
The Department for Transport has launched a consultation on proposals for restricting the parking of vehicles on pavements in England.
The consultation looks at three possible options for improving the current situation.
Option 1 involves making improvements to the current TRO system to make it simpler and quicker for local authorities to control parking.
Option 2 involves allow local authorities to enforce an offence of causing an ‘Unnecessary obstruction of the pavement’. However it is considered that this would be difficult to define.
Option 3 involves introducing a default position that all parking on pavements is prohibited except at locations where local authorities had decided to allow it. This is similar to the current situation in London.
For options 2 and 3 it is proposed that there would be a list of exemptions including emergency parking, emergency vehicles, road works and delivery, collection, loading or unloading of goods to, or from any premises, in the course of business; where this cannot reasonably be carried out without the vehicle being parked on a pavement; and the vehicle is so parked for no longer than is necessary for these purposes, and in any event for no more than a continuous period of 20 minutes.
The consultation runs until 22nd November 2020. Full details can be found on the Gov.UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/managing-pavement-parking/pavement-parking-options-for-change
Note: in Scotland a national prohibition was enacted in November 2019 but has not yet come into force.