Council boss gives cautious welcome to MP’s pavement parking bill

An MP wants to crack down on pavement parking
An MP wants to crack down on pavement parking

A Bucks County Council boss has given to his reaction to a Commons bill calling for stronger laws against vehicles parking on pavements.

MP Simon Hoare’s private members bill calls for greater powers for ‘highway authorities to make further provision for the safety, convenience and free movement on pavements of disabled people, older people, people accompanying young children and other vulnerable pedestrians; to clarify, strengthen and simplify the law relating to parking on pavements in England and Wales; and for connected purposes’.

Mark Shaw, cabinet memeber for transportation at Bucks County Council, said: “As in most places, pavement parking in Buckinghamshire can cause problems for pedestrians, in particular the disabled or parents with pushchairs. It is also an issue for maintenance as pavements are rarely designed to be driven on.

“Whilst we would welcome additional powers to help tackle this problem, these would need to be appropriate and proportional and would need to take into account both the impact of their use and our ability to use them with discretion.

“For example, enforcing against pavement parking in some areas, where due consideration is given to maintain enough width for pedestrians, may result in vehicles causing an obstruction on the road itself. As we have no powers to enforce against this, unless a specific restriction is in place, this would just pass the problem to the police.”

National charity Living Streets, which campaigns for pedestrians, welcomed North Dorset MP Mr Shaw’s bill.

Its chief executive Joe Irvin said: ‘We have been campaigning for years to reclaim our pavements for pedestrians and we are delighted that this important issue is finally being addressed after being delayed twice in the last Parliament.

“Pavements are for people, not vehicles and it is about time that this issue is prioritised and given the attention it deserves.

“Pavement parking is dangerous. It can obstruct the footway and force pedestrians into the path of oncoming traffic. This is particularly dangerous for vulnerable pedestrians including those with reduced mobility or sight loss, wheelchair or mobility scooter users and parents with young children or buggies.

“From our own research (a YouGov poll in December 2014 for Living Streets) we know that 62% of people over the age of 65 were worried about obstructions on the pavement such as cars parked on the pavement for their friends and relations aged 65 and over. Parents also tell us it is one of their main worries in relation to children walking to school

“London has had a pavement parking ban since 1975 and the Scottish Parliament now also has a Bill before it to do so. We want parking on the pavement to be banned and we fully support Mr Hoare as he works to make the pavement parking bill a reality.”