Local authorities call for more power to stop pavement parking
Local authorities want more power to ban inconsiderate motorists parking on pavements.
Drivers who mount the kerb when parking are putting lives at risk by forcing p edestrians including the blind and parents with prams to walk in the road, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
A ban on pavement parking has been in place in London for 40 years, but it is generally allowed outside the capital on roads without other restrictions such as double yellow lines.
Communities across the country have issued safety warnings over the issue in recent months, including childminders in Worcester, guide dog trainers in Shropshire and residents in Essex.
Local authorities who want to stop the practice must currently use Traffic Regulation Orders, which they claim are time-consuming, expensive and bureaucratic.
Martin Tett, transport spokesman at the LGA, which r epresents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, said it "seems a nonsense" that those outside London do not have more control to stop pavement parking.
He said: " Local authorities need this power to respond to concerns raised by their communities, for example if a street is becoming dangerously congested or pedestrians are being forced to step out into the street to get round parked vehicles.
"This is particularly dangerous for blind or partially sighted people and mums and dads with prams."
The LGA warned that local authorities have limited funds to repair kerbs, verges and pavements damaged by vehicle tyres and said this money would be better used to help plug a £12 billion roads repair bill.
Mr Tett said c ouncils would "carefully consult with communities" before bans were implemented.
AA president Edmund King warned that a blanket ban "simply won't work" as certain roads would become blocked if drivers cannot partially park on the pavement.
He said: " Some drivers think they are helping the flow of traffic by parking on the pavement, but too often little to no consideration is given to how someone in a wheelchair or a parent with a child in a buggy will pass their vehicle.
"The AA cautiously welcomes this measure, but a thorough investigation of roads must happen before any implementation takes place."
RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: "Our research has found that 62% of motorists report there is some degree of pavement parking close to where they live and three-quarters (74%) say that parked vehicles end up blocking pavements in their neighbourhood.
"But when it comes to tackling the pavement parking issue, motorists are split. Most (48%) believe it is acceptable to park on a pavement with one or two wheels, provided access for pavement users is not blocked, but a sizeable minority (37%) think the remedy is an outright ban on all parking on pavements."
A Department for Transport spokesman said: " We recognise the importance of making sure that pavement parking doesn't put pedestrians at risk and believe councils are best-placed to make decisions about local restrictions.
"Councils already have the power to ban drivers from using pavements and we are looking at whether more can be done to make it easier for them to tackle problem areas."