Our Highway Code currently provides a wealth of information about where it is legal to park or wait in your vehicle, and has specific rules and regulations governing parking at night, enforcement and related matters. For a full description of the various UK laws and rules, please refer to sections 238 to 252 of the code.
New proposals being looked at by the government’s Transport Committee may lead to some changes in the laws governing parking, especially relating to parking on the pavement. One of the biggest issues with leaving vehicles there is that it can block access to shops and houses, can lead to obstructions for pedestrians and other road users, and could lead to accidents with other road and pavement users needing to step into the road to avoid parked vehicles.
Another important issue is the cost of repairs that can be incurred following damage sustained by vehicles mounting the kerb or being left for long periods on the pavement. This cost is passed onto councils, which can of course lead to rises in Council Tax to cover these hefty repair bills. Members of the motor trade are not exempt from these potential changes and should expect that any new legislation would cover them too.
However, some opponents of the proposed ban on pavement parking are quite outspoken about the issues that this might cause. For example, some roads or streets are too narrow to pass through safely if vehicles are parked completely on the road, which means that pavement parking actually helps keep traffic flowing and prevents obstructions. Such folk are of course quick to distinguish between this necessity to keep the roadway free with selfish or inconsiderate parking which may block pavements or hinder pedestrians from passing safely or entering buildings.
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One important point to note is that London has already introduced a total ban on such parking; this was actually put in place back in 1974, with the rest of the country still unaffected by this law 45 years later. The Highway Code has specific rules for parking in London, so visitors should take heed that penalties can and will be issued there for any relevant offences that would otherwise not incur a fine elsewhere in England. The Scottish parliament followed suit in 2018, introducing a bill giving the local authorities the right and powers to fine drivers who park on the pavement or kerb. This was part of a wider suite of legislation covering additional items such as air pollution from new and used cars and vans, and related findings.
Given the rising cost that many drivers see each year, like their motor insurance policy for example, any new rules which could lead to a fine for parking should be carefully monitored by motorists.