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The Government has given its response to the Transport Select Committee’s 2019 report on Pavement parking.

The Committee heard evidence from Living Streets about the real impact inconsiderate parking has on people’s lives.  

Our pavement parking expert, Dr Rachel Lee, talks us through the recommendations and the Government's response. 

Rachel Lee

The Transport Select Committee report made 8 recommendations, most for action by spring 2020 (which won’t be happening).

Recommendation 1 suggested that the Government address the isolating effect of pavement parking as part of its Loneliness Strategy. This has been accepted by the Government in full; it’s significant because it means that the Government acknowledges how harmful pavement parking can be.  

Recommendation 2 called for a national awareness raising campaign; the Government has said it will raise the profile of the issue through consultation first and consider the need for a campaign as part of its next steps.  

Recommendations 3 and 4 were about the use of Traffic Regulation Orders – the process used by local authorities to ban pavement parking on selected streets or a wider area. There is a need to make TROs simpler and cheaper by removing the need to advertise in local newspapers. A separate review of TROs has already been initiated through the TRO Discovery Project, any necessary change in legislation will not be achieved by spring 2020.  

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Clear pavements need clear laws, but currently regional differences cause confusion. We need a nationwide default ban, with the option to allow pavement parking in certain circumstances, as is currently available in London. This would be much easier for everyone to understand.

Recommendation 5 asked the Government to speed up the transfer of parking powers from the police to local authorities for those areas that have yet to ‘decriminalise’ parking. They are going to move forward with as much haste as possible.

Recommendation 6 followed on naturally, it required the Government to take action to ensure local authorities, police forces, as well as the public, have access to the right information about who enforces what. The Government accepts this recommendation. (We told you the law is confusing!)

Recommendation 7 is where it gets very interesting. The TSC asked the Government to consult on a new civil offence of ‘obstructive pavement parking’. The advantage with this approach is that civil enforcement officers could issue a fine without needing a TRO in place.

The Government has partially accepted this recommendation, stating that clarity is needed on defining ‘unnecessary obstruction’ - to avoid differences in enforcement across the country. It also wants to consult on dual enforcement, so that the police can intervene in extreme cases. 

Finally, in Recommendation 8 the TSC agreed with Living Streets and supporting organisations and called on the Government to legislate for a nationwide ban on pavement parking. It viewed this as the long-term solution – which would need to be accompanied by an awareness raising campaign.  

The good news is that the Government has partially accepted this recommendation and will consult on a national ban (and obstructive pavement parking) in the summer. That’s when we really need to be heard. It has suggested that there may need to be a different approach in urban and rural areas – the sad fact is that pavement parking is a problem for pedestrians everywhere.