A blanket ban on parking on pavements could leave thousands of drivers with nowhere to park their cars, according to a leading motorists’ organisation.
IAM Roadsmart has warned that a complete ban on the practice would make life harder for motorists and lead to demands for cash-strapped councils to provide more parking spaces.
The driver coaching and road safety body issued its warning in response to the House of Commons Transport Committee’s inquiry into the issue. Its comments also come after the Scottish Parliament approved legislation for a complete ban on pavement parking in April.
Among submissions to the Transport Committee’s inquiry were proposals for a complete ban on all pavement parking, which could see drivers fined £70 if they breach it.
Currently, London is the only part of the country where parking on a pavement is illegal, although you can still be fined elsewhere for causing an unnecessary or dangerous obstruction.
Campaigners say that outlawing parking on pavements nationwide will improve safety for people in wheelchairs, those with pushchairs and others forced into the road to get around parked cars.
However, IAM Roadsmart has warned that a one-size-fits-all approach is not the correct solution and could put more pressure on drivers and local authorities.
In its submission to the committee, IAM RoadSmart said: “Where data has been collated, the problems appear to be localised.
“Where pedestrians are being put in danger or denied access by inconsiderate pavement parking, or if costly long-term damage is being done, then we have no problem with local solutions being implemented for local problems.
“Local councils should be encouraged to use their existing powers to sign, define, review and enforce local bans as required.”
IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research Neil Greig warned that a sweeping ban would add to the strain on councils. He said: “New traffic orders, new signposting, new road markings and new enforcement administration will all be required at extra cost if a blanket ban is introduced.
“Councils are already struggling to implement low emission zones, cycling and walking policies, active travel policies, 20mph zones and a host for other transport measures against a background of budget cuts and dwindling resources.”
Previously, the AA’s president Edmund King warned that a blanket ban would be a “step too far”. He said: “A street-by-street assessment is needed to decide where it may be suitable to allow pavement parking.
“Pavement parking poses problems on both inner city streets and rural lanes, so the outcome needs to be tailored to the circumstances.”
The motoring group also cautioned that a blanket ban could be seen as an easy money-spinner for councils and any income from fines should be ringfenced and used to expand and improve local parking facilities.
“If enforcement is going to be applied rigorously then councils should be forced to provide safe and secure alternative parking arrangements in those areas where pavement parking has been banned but worked perfectly well before.”