Many people – including those who are blind or partially sighted – are frustrated by the current laws concerning parking on pavements. Indeed, Guide Dogs and Living Streets both emphasise that parking on pavements can make some towns and city centres virtual no-go areas for blind and partially sighted people.
The current laws on pavement parking are often confusing for motorists, dangerous for vulnerable road users and costly for councils who are having to repair damaged pavements.
Decisions on pavement parking are devolved to local authorities, and while in some areas of the country it is illegal to park on a pavement – e.g. London – in other areas it is not prohibited. Liverpool City Council’s approach can be found here.
Local authorities must have the power and choice to manage local streets, but I also believe that this patchwork of rules on pavement parking needs to be reformed so there is greater national consistency. That is why in the last Parliament Labour MPs supported the Pavement Parking Bill, which would have legislated for a national law on pavement parking with flexibility for local authorities to make exemptions if appropriate.
This Bill was introduced to Parliament back in July 2014 but did not receive a Second Reading in the House of Commons due to a lack of Parliamentary time, which the government controls, and subsequently fell at the end of the 2014-15 parliamentary session.
A new Private Members Bill – the Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill – has now been introduced to the House of Commons and is due to receive its Second Reading on December 4 2015.
This Bill is yet to be published but I will closely consider it as and when it is debated in Parliament. In principle I support the idea of a national ban on pavement parking with appropriate local flexibility, so I hope there is an opportunity for this Bill and this issue to be debated further.
I will be visiting the Guide Dogs’ stall at the Labour Party Conference in September.