Banning parking on the pavement is back on the agenda, if it ever got off the kerb.

The Local Government Association (LGA) us calling on the Government to take action.

It comes three years after a consultation on the issue closed.

This looked into giving councils powers to enforce a ban.

Capital offence

Pavement parking is currently only banned in London, where councils have powers to exempt certain roads.

The Government’s consultation, which closed in November 2020, examined the merits of extending this ban to all councils in England.

In Scotland, a nationwide parking ban has just started to be enforced by some councils.

Another  consultation is set to take place in Wales on introducing restrictions on pavement parking.

Keeping it local

The Local Government Association (LGA) represents councils in England and Wales. It says a change in the rules is now long overdue and would help councils meet national targets to encourage more walking and cycling. New rules could also provide greater protection of older and vulnerable people from injury.

An independent report, produced by Sustrans and Transport for All and commissioned by the LGA, details the barriers faced by people using the footway and challenges for councils in making them accessible.

This includes the lack of space commonly caused by pavement parking, poor surface quality, trip hazards and not enough places to cross the road safely.

Lack of funding, difficulties in maintaining a clear picture of the condition of footways and bureaucratic hurdles in obtaining Traffic Regulation Orders, are also identified as challenges for councils.

Uneven results

Poorer quality pavements can also lead to lower footfall at local businesses. Councils also face injury claims from people tripping and falling due to the poor state of pavements and obstructions.

For those who are older or impaired, it could also lead to reduced independence, social isolation and exclusion, which could worsen their condition.

Even where people are able to catch buses or other public transport, there are problems. The state of some pavements mean they are not always able to board or step off from them safely, according to the LGA.

“Pavement parking is one of the biggest complaints from pedestrians,” says Cllr Darren Rodwell, transport spokesperson for the LGA. “But three years on, councils outside of London still do not have the powers they need to tackle this scourge.

“Vulnerable and disabled people, including wheelchair users as well as parents with pushchairs are forced into the road due to some drivers’ inconsiderate parking, presenting a real hazard and potential danger to life.

“Repairing kerbs and pavements damaged by pavement parking is also expensive and this funding could be better used to resurface our roads and pavements, support local buses and provide more suitable parking.”

Disturbing and dangerous

RAC head of policy, Simon Williams, argues that pavement parking is at best inconvenient and at worst hazardous for pedestrians and those in wheelchairs.

“As long as we’re left waiting for the Government’s response to its 2020 consultation, councils have limited powers to roll out pavement parking controls and make journeys safer for those on wheels and walking,” he said.

“Rather than an outright ban, we think it would be more effective if local authorities were given enforcement powers to prevent unnecessary pavement obstructions.

“This prevents the need for them having to survey all their roads to work out where exemptions need to be made, then spend money putting up signs and painting new markings.”

A copy of the LGA report, ‘The path to inclusive footways’, can be downloaded here.