Pavement Parking: PATROL engagement with Transport Committee Inquiry
In the last few months, PATROL has responded and engaged extensively with the Transport Committee’s Inquiry into the issue of pavement parking in England, the problems it causes and the possible solutions to the problem.
PATROL’s engagement with the Inquiry>> (which was first announced on 2 April 2019) follows a consultation with its members in Autumn 2018 to explore the challenges of pavement parking and the powers that would help authorities manage it in a way that would respond to the particular needs of their communities.
The findings of these workshops were written up in to a briefing document: Pavement Parking: Local powers for local solutions, which can be accessed here>>.
Engagement with the Transport Committee Inquiry to date
15 May 2019:
PATROL’s initial submission to the Inquiry was based on the original briefing document and encompassed later feedback received from PATROL member authorities. Access a copy here>>
19 June 2019:
PATROL was asked to give oral evidence to the Transport Committee on Wednesday 19 June 2019. This was provided by Louise Hutchinson, Director, PATROL. Other representatives invited to give evidence during the session included:
- Dr Rachel Lee, Policy and Research Coordinator, Living Streets
- Ian Taylor, Director, Alliance of British Drivers
- Chris Theobald, Public Affairs Manager, Guide Dogs
- Simon Botterill, Transport and Traffic, Design and Delivery Manager, Sheffield City Council
- Spencer Palmer, Director, Transport and Mobility, London Councils
- Tim Young, Project Engineer (Policy and Performance), Norfolk County Council.
Louise was asked a number of questions focused on the procedural and political implications of implementing a national ban (including the role of Traffic Regulation Orders [TROs]), which preceded further questions around alternative solutions, including the introduction of highway obstruction as a new civil enforcement contravention. This followed an earlier session, which focused on the impact of pavement parking on people and vulnerable groups.
Click here>> to watch a video of the full oral evidence given to the Committee on 19 June 2019
(PATROL evidence starts at 10:40:54)
Read a transcript of the full session here>>
27 June 2019:
PATROL provided an additional submission to the Inquiry, expanding on some of the points that came up during the earlier oral evidence session. Access a copy here>>
23 July 2019:
The Chief Adjudicator of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, Caroline Sheppard OBE, in consultation with Louise Hutchinson, provided a further submission to the Inquiry, concerning a potential Behaviour Change Strategy to tackle the issue of pavement parking. Access a copy here>>
The Transport Committee has received a significant number of responses to its pavement parking inquiry to date, and from a range of sources, including local authorities, parking and motoring stakeholder groups, consumer groups and members of the public.
On 27 June, the Transport Committee visited Bexhill-on-Sea, constituency of one of its members, Huw Merriman MP, to see in person the effect pavement parking has on communities, in order to inform its eventual recommendations.
On 10 July, then Minister of State at the Department for Transport (DfT), Michael Ellis MP, issued a letter to the Transport Committee stating that he would give further consideration to a publicity campaign to raise awareness of the difficulties caused by footway parking.
The Transport Committee is expected to publish its findings and recommendations on the back of the Inquiry in the coming months.
Find out more about the Inquiry and view all submissions and evidence provided to date here>>
The challenge of pavement parking
Pavement parking poses several problems for local authorities.
- Inconsiderate parking creates potentially dangerous hazards for pedestrians, particularly those that are vulnerable, such as the elderly, disabled or families with pushchairs.
- Damage to paths and pavements is also hazardous and costly to repair.
- Members of the public refer cases of vehicles causing an obstruction and assume that local authorities can take enforcement action. Currently, this is a matter for the police rather than local authority.
A ban on pavement parking was introduced in London in 1974 and (as of April 2019) the Scottish Government has agreed in principle to implement a nationwide ban on pavement parking.
Authorities in England (outside London) and Wales, however, have only limited powers to enforce pavement parking, where:
- vehicles are parked in contravention of existing waiting restrictions;
- a designated area-wide ban is in place, based on Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) and signage;
- the vehicle parked is a ‘heavy commercial vehicle’, with an operating weight of over 7.5 tonnes.
As of July 2019, Lee Waters AM, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Welsh Government, announcement that a Taskforce Group was to be set up to consider the issues around pavement parking and to decide how best to implement a solution to this problem in Wales.
PATROL workshop findings
The PATROL pavement parking workshops confirmed that pavement parking remains an issue; however, the challenge differs from authority to authority, and a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, such as a nationwide pavement parking ban, could create additional challenges for communities; for example, where there is:
- a need for pavement parking on some roads, such as narrow residential streets
- high-cost and resource implications around implementing a blanket ban in areas where high levels of permitted pavement parking are required.
A number of practical concerns were raised by members during the course of the workshops, including:
- Inflexibility, in terms of the varying needs of local communities and their built environment, and the implications for disapplying the statutory instrument, should a nationwide ban not be appropriate in a specific locality. There will inevitably be some streets where there will be a range of views, implications of road layout and use factors that contribute to the debate about whether pavement parking should / could be banned or not;
- the significant costs associated with disapplying the statutory instrument to allow pavement parking within particular areas of a local community (including surveys, Traffic Regulation Orders and consultation);
- the increased signage that would accompany the introduction of such areas of permitted pavement parking.
A timely solution: Adding obstruction of the highway to the list of civil enforcement contraventions
A readily available solution proposed by PATROL authorities would be to add obstruction of the highway to the list of contraventions for which civil enforcement applies, contained in Part 1 of Schedule 7 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.
By using secondary legislation, the Government could take immediate action on pavement parking while considering the implications and feasibility of alternative approaches. In particular, the potential impact of a nationwide ban could be properly assessed, in terms of resources and sensitivity to local conditions.