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Parking on Pavements

Volume 795: debated on Monday 11 February 2019


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to prevent motor vehicles parking on pavements.

My Lords, in Greater London there is already a general ban on pavement parking. Across the rest of England, local authorities can implement local bans using traffic regulation orders. In recent months the Department for Transport has carried out a review of pavement parking, gathering evidence on the effectiveness of current legislation and the case for reform. That review is now complete and we are considering its findings.

I thank the Minister for that Answer. Do the Government accept the views of Guide Dogs, the RNIB, the Living Streets charity campaign, all wheelchair users and all parents pushing a pushchair along the pavements, as well as all the local authorities that have to repair them after they have been damaged, that legislation should move to a default position, as is the case in London, of no parking on pavements unless designated otherwise, rather than just discourage- ment, which is currently the case?

My Lords, a recent survey by the RNIB of more than 500 blind and partially sighted people found that 95% of them had collided with a street obstacle in the past three months. A vehicle parked on a pavement was the single most reported obstacle, so I do agree with the noble Lord that pavement parking is a problem. There are calls for the Government to introduce a law that bans all pavement parking across England, and the roads Minister is keen to make the process as simple as possible. However, before seeking new primary legislation we are evaluating the effectiveness of the current legislation. We want to understand the issues that have prevented councils taking action already.

My Lords, does my noble friend agree that this is a curious Alice in Wonderland situation, where pedestrians have to go into the road because of cars that are already on the pavement? Some 69% of the public and 78% of local councillors support a new law. Are they right?

My Lords, we have heard a lot of concern from interested groups, the general public, those with disabilities, the elderly and, of course, mothers with pushchairs about the incidence of pavement parking outside London. We have gathered evidence to try to understand the effectiveness of the current legislation. We are considering those findings carefully and we will make an announcement in due course.

My Lords, I recently heard about someone who was knocked down on a pavement by a powered mobility scooter. She fell and broke her wrist. Does the noble Baroness agree that there is a need for tighter regulation of vehicles on pavements?

My Lords, this is something that we are looking at. With the advent of new technology we are seeing new vehicles on the pavement. That will be one of our considerations when we look at the law on this.

My Lords, the Traffic Management Act 2004 imposed a duty on local authorities to manage their own road networks. The same Act also provided for traffic officers to be appointed to enforce these powers. However, Part 6 of the Act, which makes provision for penalties, has never been enacted. That leaves local authorities in a position where they have duties which they cannot carry out because they have no revenue streams from penalty notices to pay for enforcement. Will the noble Baroness look carefully at the Act, which, as I say, has never been properly brought into effect, but which does contain the powers that she is talking about? It would enable much more efficient management of both highways and pavements.

My Lords, since the Traffic Management Act 2004 came into force, more than 93% of local authorities in England have taken up the powers. On the specific point about enforcement, I will have to follow it up with the department and write to the noble Lord.

My Lords, I am sure that the Minister will be aware that her colleague Jo Johnson wrote a circular letter in the autumn to local authorities, praying in aid—about penalties for persons committing nuisances while riding on footpaths—that people shall not,

“tether any horse, ass, mule, swine, or cattle, on any highway, so as to suffer or permit the tethered animal to be thereon”.

This came from the Highway Act 1835. Is it not about time this legislation was updated?

My Lords, I was interested to find that cycling on a footway is also an offence under Section 72 of the Highway Act 1835. Obviously, it has been updated with various pieces of secondary legislation. As I say, we are looking carefully at the issues around vehicles on pavements and will respond in due course.

My Lords, is the Minister aware that this practice can be lethal because of the glass and steel grids on pavements that allow light to underground structures? If a lorry goes over them, the whole thing can collapse and crash down and would kill anyone underneath.

My Lords, I know that street furniture, including lamp-posts, also inhibits people in confidently navigating their way around the streets. Pavement parking can cause damage to paving stones and perhaps glass objects—so we are looking carefully at the evidence we have gathered.