Pavement parking is set to be banned in Scotland this year after Government action on the infraction was delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Many experts have called on the UK Government to introduce legislation to ban pavement parking and ensure that drivers who commit the act are fined.
Scotland originally announced its intention to ban pavement parking and dropped kerbs in 2019, with former Transport Secretary Michael Matheson, saying a ban would not be enforced before 2023.
However, Living Streets, a walking charity, said because of a 2022 consultation, a ban would not be coming into effect until December 2024.
As a result, the charity demanded that the Government act and ban the parking error before the end of 2023, saying any further delays would be “unacceptable”.
Parking on pavements is already punishable if it causes an obstruction, and is included in the Highway Code.
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Rule 244 of the Highway Code states that drivers “must not park partially or wholly on the pavement in London”, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.
Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.
The same applies to goods vehicles. Any vehicles with a maximum laden weight of over 7.5 tonnes (including any trailer) must not be parked on a verge, pavement or any land situated between carriageways, without police permission.
The only exception is when parking is essential for loading and unloading, in which case the vehicle must not be left unattended.
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The pavement parking law is already in place in England’s capital under the Greater London (General Purposes) Act 1974.
This enforces the pavement parking ban through the 32 London boroughs and the City of London, with drivers receiving £70 fines.
If someone is caught parking on the pavement by the police, they could be charged with “unnecessary obstruction of any part of the highway”.
Many are still unsure of the rules around pavement parking as highlighted by a YouGov study, commissioned by sight loss charity Guide Dogs.
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It found that a massive 46 percent of UK motorists are confused by pavement parking laws.
Only five percent of motorists knew all aspects of the current law around pavement parking.
In January 2023, Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change in the Welsh Senedd, called on the UK Government to amend existing regulations.
He said: “The UK Government have committed to this but have not yet secured parliamentary time to take this forward, nor is time likely to be found in the foreseeable future.
“I reconvened the Wales Pavement Parking Taskforce last year and asked them to explore other ways of achieving our policy aims.
“The Taskforce examined the feasibility of using the existing offence of obstruction of the road to address the issue of pavement parking.
“This approach could deliver additional benefits, allowing local authorities in Wales to deal with both pavement parking and also parked vehicles obstructing our roads.
“I have accepted this recommendation and now propose to consult widely prior with a view to introducing the necessary legislation by the end of 2023.”