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17th October 2019

Over 80 per cent of people want to see pavement parking banned in Wales

BY: Nathan Spackman

A new report shows that 83 per cent of people in Wales want to see an end to pavement parking.

Over 1,000 people responded to a recent survey [1] by Living Streets Cymru, which is calling for a default ban in Wales. Now its report, A Step Towards a Pavement Parking Ban in Wales, also reveals that 88 per cent of local authorities in Wales have received letters from members of the public complaining about pavement parking [2].

Deputy Minister for Transport Lee Waters AM is supporting the campaign, and in the foreword to the report, he says:

“The Living Streets Cymru report highlights the real blight for communities caused by pavement parking. Cars that block pavements stop many people, especially those with mobility and sight impairments, from leaving the house because they feel that it is too dangerous to navigate the streets.

“Welsh Government is looking at ways to address this problem as part of our wider response to the climate emergency, the air quality crisis and the obesity epidemic. The Welsh Government has set up a task force to explore ways to stop the problem in Wales.”

In other parts of the UK, a law to ban pavement parking in Scotland was approved by Scottish Parliament this month (10 October 2019) whilst the Transport Select Committee’s latest report advised that it be banned in England (September 2019).

The issue of parked vehicles causing an obstruction and damaging footway surfaces is a longstanding problem for pedestrians, and 83 per cent of survey respondents in Wales said that pavement parking is a common, large or very large problem. In addition to this, 80 per cent expressed little or no confidence in their local authority’s ability to deal with the problem.

One of the survey respondents, Folkert Veenstra from Montgomeryshire, says that pavement parking is a big problem in her area.

“People use the pavement as a car park and it’s dangerous for everyone. I use a wheelchair and if the pavement is not wide enough, I can’t get past. It’s particularly bad for blind people – at least I can see the cars. People just don’t think. It shouldn’t be like this; pavements should be for people.”

Rhiannon Hardiman, Manager for Living Streets Cymru, says:

“Pavement parking is a problem for everyone, especially for our more vulnerable members of society. People with mobility issues and sight loss, parents with pushchairs and older adults often avoid leaving their homes as they feel unsafe and worry about walking into traffic. In fact, over a quarter of people aged over 65 in Wales are prevented from walking on their local streets because of blocked pavements [3].”

“We want a default ban in Wales with an exception allowing pavement parking on specially designated streets. We need safe and accessible pavements to encourage people of all ages to walk more, and we are working with the Welsh Government to stop this dangerous practice.”

Driving on pavements is illegal [4], but in most places in the UK, apart from London, parking on pavements is considered ‘legal’. Local authorities in England and Wales can use Traffic Regulation Orders to create street by street or area wide bans, but this is time-consuming and expensive. The police can also prosecute drivers for causing an obstruction, but this is rarely enforced. Living Streets believes that making parking on pavements illegal – unless it is specifically exempted where it is safe and necessary to do so – is the only solution. 

The results of the survey will be shared with the Welsh Government task group investigating pavement parking. 

[1] The report is based on a survey conducted by Living Streets between July and September 2019; 1,179 people responded.

[2] 88% of local authorities who responded to a freedom of information request from Living Streets in 2018, based on an 64% response rate (16 out of 22 local authorities).

[3] Living Streets research. Figures from YouGov Plc.  Fieldwork was undertaken between 28 March and 2 April 2019.  

[4] Rule 145 of the Highway Code states: “You MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency”.

Download a pdf of the Living Streets Cymru report here.

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