A consultation will begin on banning pavement parking throughout England to make pavements safer for disabled people, the elderly and parents using prams.
The Department of Transport (DfT) is launching the consultation on whether to ban pavement parking nationwide, or give local councils more power to tackle the issue.
These local council powers could include fines for motorists who park on pavements across England, making walking unsafe for the elderly, parents pushing prams and disabled people. Pavement parking especially effects people who are visually impaired, guide dog users and wheelchair users.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps says: “Parking on pavements means wheelchair users, visually impaired people and parents with pushchairs can be forced into the road, which is not only dangerous, but discourages people from making journeys.
“Pavement parking presents a clear safety risk when parked cars occupy the pavement and force vulnerable pedestrians to move into the road.”
Pavement parking has been banned in London since the 1970s but is still legal outside of the capital with the exception of lorries.
The new consultation follows a report by the Commons Transport Select Committee last year which highlighted the fact that pavement parking could keep vulnerable people in their homes leading to isolation.
Recent research from Guide Dogs showed that 32 per cent of people with visual impairments and 48 per cent of wheelchair users are less eager to go out on their own because of pavement parking.
Pavement parking has had a further effect during the coronavirus pandemic, leaving people unable to socially distance when out and about.
“A key part of our green, post-Covid recovery will be encouraging more people to choose active travel, such as walking, so it is vital that we make the nation’s pavements accessible for everyone,” explains Grant Shapps.
Three different options are being considered during the consultation: a nationwide ban on pavements parking; making it easier for councils to prohibit pavement parking; giving councils the power to fine offenders.
Fines in London for pavement parking range from £80 to £130 depending on the seriousness of the offence.