I appreciate that vehicles parked on pavements can be dangerous for all pedestrians, as it can force them onto the carriageway and into the flow of traffic. In particular, I understand that pavement parking can cause real problems for people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments, as well as those with pushchairs. Indeed, a recent review of pavement parking carried out by the Department for Transport found that pavement parking was problematic for 95 per cent of respondents who were visually impaired, and 98 per cent of wheelchair users.
While there is a historic ban on pavement parking throughout London, elsewhere any local authority that has taken up civil enforcement powers may introduce a ban on pavement parking where it sees fit through the use of Traffic Regulation Orders. As part of making this easier to implement, in 2011 Ministers gave all councils authorisation to use a sign indicating where a pavement parking restriction is in place, removing the need to ask Whitehall first for permission to use the sign.
However, while successive Governments have recognised that there is no perfect solution to this complex problem, I believe it is time to look again at this issue in detail. I welcome that Ministers now want to go further and recently ran a consultation on proposals that would allow local authorities with civil parking enforcement powers to crack down on pavements being unnecessarily obstructed. Outside London, only the police currently have the power to enforce this.
The consultation also explores how a nationwide ban on pavement parking, enforced by local authorities, could work. A nationwide ban would need careful consideration and would have to allow, for example, for necessary exceptions or designated spots for pavement parking where required. The approach taken would also have to be tailored to the very different challenges faced in rural and suburban areas.
I understand that the Department is currently still analysing the high volume of responses to ensure that all views are captured, and that ministers will carefully consider the consultation findings before deciding the way forward. The Government response will be published in due course, and will be available to view at the following link:
I look forward to the Government review and outcome and will continue to monitor this issue closely.