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Is it illegal to park on the pavement and when might you get a fine?





Whether in a crowded housing estate or busy town centre, finding a suitable parking space can sometimes be tricky and can result in drivers mounting the kerb and leaving their vehicle over a pavement or verge.

However a new report is calling for parking on pavements to be banned across the country and for England to fall in line with London, where it is already prohibited.

There are calls for a blanket ban on parking on pavements. Image: iStock.
There are calls for a blanket ban on parking on pavements. Image: iStock.

The Local Government Association says all local councils need stricter powers to keep pedestrians safe and to limit costly repairs to surfaces which are being unnecessarily damaged by cars climbing the kerb.

So what are the current rules when it comes to leaving your car on the pavement and what exactly is being proposed?

Outside of London, it’s not currently illegal to park on the pavement unless you're deemed to be a hazard. Image: Stock photo.
Outside of London, it’s not currently illegal to park on the pavement unless you're deemed to be a hazard. Image: Stock photo.

Is it illegal to park on pavements?

The laws around pavement parking, argue some campaigners, remain somewhat vague. However outside of London there is no specific law that prevents it.

Parking on the pavement is illegal in London and has been since 1974 – prohibited in greater London by the Greater London Council Act 1974.

Highway Code rule 244 states that drivers "MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it."

The use of ‘must not’ for London and ‘should not’ for places outside it, says the RAC, indicate that there are laws behind the rule in the capital and motorists would therefore be at risk of a fine for breaching them.

However Rule 242 of the Highway Code states ‘You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road’.

This means that if your car is reported to be a hazard as as result of its position on any pavement – or seen by a passing police officer and judged to be in a dangerous position - you could be given a penalty fine regardless of where you are parked in the country and this would be a criminal matter.

Drivers must look out for signs to be sure no local orders are in place. Image: Chris Davey.
Drivers must look out for signs to be sure no local orders are in place. Image: Chris Davey.

Powers also exist for local councils to ban pavement parking – or parking on a verge – using Traffic Regulation Orders.

These can be applied street-by-street, for example in areas where it may be a particular issue or zonally, and would involve civil enforcement action carried out by parking officers.

However, the approximate cost of implementing these restrictions is reportedly £7,000 per 100m length of restriction, which includes staff costs, the TRO process itself and the signs and lines required for enforcement.

Traffic wardens can enforce fixed penalty notices. Image: Stock photo.
Traffic wardens can enforce fixed penalty notices. Image: Stock photo.

What is the current fine?

The amount you could be fined will depend on whether it is the police or the local council who issue you with a penalty charge for the way you are parked.

A fixed penalty notice, which can come from the police, local council or DVSA, carries a fine of around £50 and above.

However if the council where you are issues a penalty charge notice – or PCN – these can range from £50 to £130 - albeit there are often discounts if you pay-up within a certain number of days.

Both types of fine can be appealed, but the process would be different.

According to data obtained by Autocar last year, London councils issued pavement parking fines to the value of £8.5 million in 2023.

In Scotland, where pavement parking bans came in across the country at the end of last year, drivers can now face a £100 fine if caught.

In Scotland, since December, drivers can now be fined £100 for pavement parking. Image: Scottish Government.
In Scotland, since December, drivers can now be fined £100 for pavement parking. Image: Scottish Government.

What does the new LGA report recommend for England?

A report published by the Local Government Association last month says powers to ban pavement parking need to be extended across all areas of England.

The LGA says older and disabled people, including those in wheelchairs, as well as parents with pushchairs and younger children are all forced to get around vehicles that have mounted the kerb, which risks their safety by forcing them to step into incoming traffic.

Parking on the pavement can also crack and damage the surface, says the report, which alongside creating trip and injury hazards can lead to costly repairs for already cash-strapped councils.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, said a change in the rules is now long overdue and banning pavement parking ‘would help councils meet national targets to encourage more walking and cycling’ while protecting older and vulnerable people from injury.

In London, fines amounting to more than £8 million were issued in 2023. Image: Stock photo.
In London, fines amounting to more than £8 million were issued in 2023. Image: Stock photo.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, transport spokesperson for the LGA, said: “Pavement parking is one of the biggest complaints from pedestrians, but three years on, councils outside of London still do not have the powers they need to tackle this scourge.

“Vulnerable and disabled people, including wheelchair users as well as parents with pushchairs are forced into the road due to some drivers’ inconsiderate parking, presenting a real hazard and potential danger to life.

“Repairing kerbs and pavements damaged by pavement parking is also expensive and this funding could be better used to resurface our roads and pavements, support local buses and provide more suitable parking.

“If we are to meet the Government’s ambition for half of all trips in England's towns and cities to be walked, wheeled or cycled by 2030, then it makes sense to give councils across the country the same powers as in the capital, making our streets safer and footpaths open for everyone.”

The last time the issue was discussed in Parliament was at the end of last year.

The Roads Minister at the time, Richard Holden said: "It is one of the biggest responses we have had on any issue, with tens of thousands of responses, so it is only right that the Government take our time to ensure we get the position right.

“In the meantime, any local authority across the country can put in place a traffic regulation order and ensure those changes happen on a local level."

Earlier this month Cambridge County Council announced tentative plans to trial a ban on pavement parking in a pilot project.



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