Response from Sir Peter Bottomley
Thank you for contacting me about pavement parking. I appreciate that vehicles parked on pavements can cause particular problems for people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments, as well as those with pushchairs.
Improving access for disabled people is a key priority for the Government. During 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) worked with a range of stakeholders to examine the legal and financial implications of an alternative pavement parking regime, and the likely impacts on local authorities. This included a roundtable between Ministers and key stakeholders, to help inform the DfT’s evidence base on this issue. A key issue identified was the process for putting in place Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for the enforcement of pavement parking. The DfT is therefore now considering how best to address the general improvement of the TRO-making process.
More broadly, the Government has already taken steps to make it easier for councils to tackle pavement parking. While there is an historic ban on pavement parking throughout London, elsewhere any local authority that has taken up civil enforcement powers may introduce a ban on pavement parking where it sees fit. In 2011, Ministers gave all councils authorisation to use a sign banning parking on the pavement, removing the need to ask Whitehall first for permission.
Ministers have written to councils on several occasions, encouraging them to use their available powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem. The Department has also published guidance for traffic authorities, highlighting the difficulties that pavement parking causes for pedestrians and detailing ways that it can be prevented.
I have for some time now been working with the local charities and Guide Dogs in and around Worthing to promote this idea and I am pleased to see that additional moves to de-clutter the town centre by removing ‘A-Boards’ outside of shops and cafes in Worthing is being expanded to help those who are partially sighted better navigate busier, more pedestrianised areas.
Any such initiatives to end pavement parking would not just be a move that will help blind and partially sighted people, but also those who more generally struggle with mobility and will help make pavements safer for pushchairs and wheelchairs.
I understand the Government are set to make an announcement regarding pavement parking later in the spring and I, like you, will look forward to hearing it.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.