Living Streets is calling on councils to take action to clear pavements of poorly placed bins, A-boards and excessive signage, which make it difficult for people to walk and wheel their everyday journeys.  

It comes as new YouGov research finds that over one in four Brits (26%) would want to walk more if their streets were clutter-free.

The research also revealed the worst offenders for blocking up our pavements, with respondents citing cars blocking pavements (56%), poorly placed bins (41%) and badly-placed lampposts and signs (17%) as the three most common obstructions.

As well as impacting on people’s desire to walk their short journeys instead of driving them, cluttered pavements also prevent people with wheelchairs, buggies or Guide Dogs from getting around easily and safely.

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Living Streets has been campaigning for a default ban on pavement parking and is awaiting a response from the Government consultation into pavement parking in England.

During Living Streets’ #CutTheClutter Week (11-17 July 2022), the charity is calling on councils to implement a series of measures to clear streets of other clutter and make them more accessible, including banning advertising boards (A-boards) on the pavement; putting in place plans and budget to remove excess or unused street furniture; and providing guidance to businesses on using pavement space for outdoor entertainment to ensure at least 1.5m pavement width remains.

Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said:

“Street clutter clogs up our pavements and makes it hazardous for people to get around. It forces people with wheelchairs and buggies onto the road and into the path of oncoming traffic.

“We need to make sure walking and wheeling are attractive options. Streets cluttered with obstructions fly in the face of that.

“We want councils to take action on these issues to make our streets accessible to all. In return, our streets will become safer, our communities more active, and the air we breathe cleaner.”

Living Streets’ Cut the Clutter campaign is being supported by Guide Dogs, RNIB and Transport for All.

Top 10 obstructions on Britain's streets

  1. Parked cars/vehicles (56%)
  2. Bins (e.g. wheelie bins, litter bins, etc.) (41%)
  3. Badly placed lampposts or signs (17%)
  4. Bollards (11%)
  5. Outdoor dining (e.g. chairs, tables, etc.) (10%)
  6. A-boards (9%)
  7. Other (8%) – respondents noted e-scooters, overgrown hedges and dog mess
  8. Cycle parking (7%)
  9. Guard rails (4%)
  10. Disused phone boxes (3%)