MPs launch inquiry into pavement parking

MPs have launched an investigation into drivers parking on pavements in England.

The Transport Select Committee said it will examine the problems caused when vehicles are parked with at least one wheel on a pavement.

This is likely to include blocking access for wheelchair users and pushchairs, and damage to surfaces not designed to be driven over.

Parking on pavements has been banned in London since 1974.

Outside of the capital it is only prohibited for lorries, but people who park in a dangerous position or cause an unnecessary obstruction can be fined.

A mixture of criminal and civil sanctions are available to police and local councils to enforce restrictions on pavement parking.

Labour MP Lilian Greenwood, who chairs the committee, said: “This is an area where some people’s actions cause real difficulties for others.

“Parking on pavements risks the safety of all groups of people from the littlest to the oldest, with differing needs.

“While we’re also inquiring into active travel – how we get more people into walking and cycling – we need to make sure it’s safe to take to the streets.

“We want to hear from the public about the difficulties this presents and the solutions on offer.”

The committee is calling for written evidence on the impact of pavement parking, the enforcement of existing rules and the need for new regulations.

AA president Edmund King said drivers should not leave vehicles in a position which is “anti-social” or restricts other people from using a pavement, but a blanket ban on pavement parking “would be a step too far”.

He went on: “A street-by-street assessment is needed to decide where it may be suitable to allow pavement parking. Where pavement parking is allowed, seven out of 10 drivers say the bays should be marked out to show how much of the pavement can be used.

“Pavement parking poses problems on both inner city streets and rural lanes, so the outcome needs to be tailored to the circumstances.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “There are instances, particularly on Britain’s many narrow residential streets, where drivers believe they are doing the right thing by putting a wheel or two on the kerb so as not to impede road access for other vehicles and emergency services, while also making sure they leave enough space for people to use the pavement, especially wheelchair users and those with buggies.

“This inquiry should look carefully at how we can strike the right balance.”

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