Pavement parking Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Effect on people

1.Pavement parking affects everyone who uses the pavement. Pavement parking puts pedestrians in danger when they are forced to move into the road to get around a vehicle or where there are trip hazards due to damage to the pavement. People with mobility or visual impairments, as well as those who care for others, are disproportionately affected. It exacerbates, and is a cause of, social isolation and loneliness for people who feel unable to safely leave their homes or are physically prevented from doing so by pavement parking. We find it profoundly regrettable that the Government has taken so long to take any action to deal with this issue. There have been no concrete actions to tackle pavement parking and improve people’s daily lives. We recognise that the Government has to balance the needs of drivers and pedestrians. We recommend that the Government commits to tackling pavement parking as part of its Loneliness Strategy. We recommend that the Government commits to tackling pavement parking as part of its Loneliness Strategy. We recommend that the Government swiftly learns the lessons from the work being done in other areas of Great Britain. (Paragraph 32)


2.We welcome the then Minister’s comments recognising how dangerous pavement parking can be and committing to consider a public awareness campaign on the issue. However, this does not go far enough. We are concerned that there is no real urgency in the Department for Transport to develop a campaign or to find a budget to fund it. A public awareness campaign will not solve the problem of pavement parking by itself, but it is a necessary part of any effort to curtail the incidence of pavement parking. It may reduce the number of people who knowingly break the law and change the behaviour of those who do not know and drive onto a pavement, or are unaware of the effect it has on other people. We recommend that the Department for Transport plan, fund and deploy a national awareness campaign to highlight that driving onto the pavement is illegal, and to show the negative consequences of pavement parking for pedestrians including older people, disabled people and children. This campaign should highlight the physical dangers involved in pavement parking; how it can cause social isolation; and aim to reduce the instances of pavement parking. (Paragraph 37)

3.The TRO process can be difficult. Although local authorities can use these powers to ban pavement parking, there is little information on how widely they are used. If the TRO process was made easier and cheaper it would incentivise more local authorities to use these powers We recommend that the Government bring forward proposals to reform the TRO process—to make it cheaper and easier for local authorities to use—and bring forward any required secondary legislation, if necessary, by spring 2020. (Paragraph 44)

4.We believe that public consultation and the right of local people and businesses to object to any change that would have a material impact on their lives is an important part of the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) process and must be retained. However, the TRO process has an onerous and outdated provision requiring advertisement in a local newspaper. It is vital that people who are affected by a TRO have time to object. Given the seismic changes to news consumption since these provisions were enacted, this imperfectly meets the policy objective of letting as many people as possible who may be affected know about a TRO. We recognise the importance of providing support for local newspapers, but if the Government wishes to do this, it should be done directly, not indirectly through the TRO process. The local authority is best placed to know how to communicate with the community it serves. People can only object if they are informed. Removing the requirement to advertise in a local newspaper would make the TRO process cheaper for local authorities and increase the likelihood of them using TROs to enact pavement parking bans. We recommend that the Government abolish the requirement to advertise TROs in a local newspaper. It should replace this with a requirement for the local authority to maximise the reach of its advertising to the largest number of people by whatever media would best achieve this. The Government should commit to achieving this by spring 2020: it should be delivered alongside the wider reforms to TROs recommended above. (Paragraph 45)

5.Areas which have not had their parking enforcement decriminalised lack the resources to ensure adequate parking enforcement. This can blight communities and encourages anti-social parking behaviour, such as pavement parking. We saw numerous examples of this anti-social behaviour during our visit to Bexhill-on-Sea. The then Minister, Michael Ellis MP, assured us that the application from East Sussex would be considered with haste. The Department for Transport must not drag its feet, citing external or resourcing issues, and must act now to meet the requests of local authorities to decriminalise pavement parking enforcement. (Paragraph 49)

6.As pavement parking can have such a detrimental impact on the lives of millions of people, including vulnerable road users, the only effective deterrent to parking illegally on the pavement is robust enforcement. We recognise that police and local authority budgets are tight. However, both must do more to make it clear to everyone who has enforcement responsibility and commit to doing that enforcement where resources permit. This could be made easier with consistent messaging. We recommend that the Government undertake actions to ensure that local authorities and police forces have access to the correct information about who enforces which offences and they are clear about their responsibilities. They should also commit to publicise to the general public who enforces which offences as part of the public awareness campaign we recommended above. (Paragraph 53)

7.Enforcement of parking offences is not a priority for the police. We believe that creating a new civil offence of obstructive pavement parking would take some burden from the police and allow for better, more consistent enforcement. It is important that enforcement sits with the body most able to enforce it: the evidence points to local authorities being that body, and in general they seem to want these powers. This would take time to accomplish. A new offence would have to be defined in law before local authorities could assume the relevant enforcement powers. We recommend that the Government consult on a new offence of obstructive pavement parking, with a view to making such an offence subject to civil enforcement under the Traffic Management Act 2004 and introducing the relevant legislation by summer 2020. (Paragraph 58)

A nationwide ban

8.We recommend that, in the long term, the Government legislate for a nationwide ban on pavement parking across England, outside London. The legislation should give the Secretary of State for Transport powers to make secondary legislation setting out exemptions that local authorities can make from a nationwide ban. We recommend that the Government include in the legislation a provision for a new exemption order process based on the London model. The specific nature of those exemptions should only be determined following public consultation and the full involvement of local authorities across England. It should include a full impact assessment to weigh the resource implications to local authorities of different options. The enforcement of this ban should lie with local authorities and not the police who do not have time to enforce parking offences. (Paragraph 61)

9.A public information campaign surrounding this work will help the public understand where they can park, the effects of pavement parking and where to report these offences. We recognise that this fundamental change cannot happen overnight, but the Government must commit to legislating on this issue before the end of this Parliament. In the meantime, we have set out some short- and medium-term options that could be delivered before a ban was in place. (Paragraph 62)

Published: 9 September 2019