North Yorkshire County Council calls for fresh powers to tackle pavement parking

A local authority responsible for 9,200km of road, 4,000km of footways is calling on the government for extra enforcement powers to tackle significant issues in almost every community being created by inconsiderately parked cars.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 23rd November 2020, 3:19 pm

North Yorkshire County Council’s proposed response to a Department for Transport consultation on moves to help councils combat pavement parking comes more than two years after it emerged while it was an offence to drive on the pavement, even for a short distance, no-one was prosecuted for this.

Residents and councillors voiced frustration after hearing even if a vehicle fully blocked a footway, it was impossible to pursue pavement parking offenders unless they had been witnessed by a police officer.

It has been widely recognised that pavement parking can cause real problems for pedestrians, particularly for wheelchair users, people with mobility and visual impairments and those with prams or pushchairs.

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County Hall, Northallerton

In addition, parking on pavements and verges is not an offence in England outside London unless specifically prohibited by a local authority using a formal Traffic Regulation Order.

However, many roads in rural and historic areas such as North Yorkshire were not designed to cope with high traffic levels and on-street parking, so it is accepted pavement parking is necessary in some narrow streets and to maintain free-flowing traffic and access for emergency services.

An officer’s report to the executive members has concluded a combination an improved traffic regulation order process and further enforcement powers for enforcement would help the authority crack down on offenders and could be introduced relatively quickly and at no cost to the council.

It calls for introducing legislative changes to allow local authorities with parking enforcement powers to enforce against ‘unnecessary obstruction of the pavement’ with fixed penalty notices.

The Government is not proposing full decriminalisation of parking offences as there may be some circumstances where an obstruction of the pavement is more appropriately dealt with by the police as a criminal matter.

It is understood exceptions would be included for emergency services, road and utility maintenance vehicles, postal services, breakdown vehicles and those vehicles where it can be proven that a vehicle has been used for loading and unloading.

Nevertheless, Whitehall officials are not proposing to exempt Blue Badge Holders, or any businesses not concerned with deliveries.

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