Published On: Sun, Dec 10th, 2023
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New law could clamp down on ‘nuisance’ pavement parking | UK | News

Parking on pavements often divides communities, with many feeling drivers leaving their vehicle on the paths are a bit of a ‘nuisance’ to pedestrians.

Others meanwhile want to leave enough room for emergency vehicles or other road users to travel down the highway. However, the practice is set to be on the way out in Scotland.

From Monday, Edinburgh will make it illegal for a driver to park on the pavement, anyone doing so risks a £100 fine. Vehicles will need to have one or more wheels on the footway to be fined, reports The Times.

It is the latest measure brought in since the coronavirus pandemic aimed at tackling the dominance of the cars. Others have seen 20mph limits and the creation of “low-traffic” neighbourhoods.

The first fines handed-out in Scotland will be in January. Exemptions will include deliveries taking less than 20 minutes, emergency services and parked vehicles that leave a 1.5m space.

There seems to be no current plan to bring in the same law in England. Although some areas – such as London – already prohibit pavement parking.

The Department for Transport (DfT) pledged to tackle the amount of pavement parking in 2020. It said nuisance parking left people scared to leave their own homes and caused problems for people with mobility issues or prams.

Some local authorities in Scotland have however said the ban will see them facing additional costs. Inverclyde, which extends along the Firth of Clyde, says it would need to issue seven tickets a day to break even.

While Dundee has estimated the cost of new signs and markings at £525,000. Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, a charity for everyday walking, has however written to councils asking them to follow the law properly.

Hay fears many over-65s stay in because of pavement parkers. He said: “Without sufficient enforcement capacity, many groups including disabled people will feel badly let down.”

Hay also says councils dragging their feet could fall foul of equality laws. Although, he hopes a succesful run in Scotland could see the law extended in England.

He added: “Scotland can be just a little bit bolder, more progressive, and there is evidence that England would follow.”

Scotland first floated the idea of a ban in 2019. Wales meanwhile said it would delay plans for a similar law after introducing 20mph limits as default.

Fabian Hamilton, the Labour MP for Leeds North East and chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for cycling and walking, said the measure was “common sense”. He added: “I would hope the vast majority of drivers would get the point.”

In London pavement parking accounts for around 9% of all parking penalties – around 370,000 fines in 2022-23.

The UK however lags behind Europe when it comes to tackling pavement parkers. In France motorists can be fined 135 (£116) while Italy also prohibits the practice.

Simon Williams, the RAC head of policy, said: “There is no question that inconsiderate and selfish pavement parking should be punished but it’s just a question of how best to prevent it.

“Based on our research with drivers we are opposed to an outright ban. Instead we would like to see local authorities given enforcement powers to deal with unnecessary obstruction of the pavement.”

The DfT told The Times: “Everyone should be able to navigate their streets without obstacles. While local authorities already have powers to prohibit it through local regulation, we have consulted on further helping them to take action. The response to this will be published in due course.”

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