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Councils to get powers to fine people parking on pavements

Pavement parking. Credit: Welsh Government

The Welsh Government is to give Local Authorities the power to fine people parking on pavements.

Ministers are backing the recommendations of an independent expert group to give Councils additional civil enforcement powers to fine problem parkers.

“The current law is not as clear as it could be” said Deputy Transport Minister, Lee Waters MS, who set up the taskforce. “There is no specific offence of parking on pavements, and though the Police can enforce the existing criminal offence of causing ‘unnecessary obstruction of any part of the highway’, it is rarely enforced”, he added.

The Welsh Pavement Parking Taskforce rejected the outright ban being pursued in Scotland, which is set to take five years to implement, as overly slow and complex. Instead it has set out a plan to equip local authorities to act from July 2022. The UK Government has only recently begun to consult on a way to tackle the problem in England.

“We want more people to walk for short journeys and yet we tolerate an environment that is often not pedestrian friendly; too many routes are cluttered or blocked. A recent survey found that 83% of people in Wales view it as a real problem” Lee Waters said.  “We recognise that in some streets there are too many cars for the space available and we don’t want to penalise people who have no alternative. This approach lets Councils target hot spots and vary its approach depending on local circumstances” the Deputy Transport Minister added.

All ten recommendations of the Welsh Pavement Parking Taskforce are being accepted by the Welsh Government.  The independent panel was set up last summer under the leadership of respected transport engineer Phil Jones, who in parallel also chaired the taskforce on 20mph local speed limits. In July the Senedd backed proposals for a 20mph default speed limit in residential areas, which the Welsh Government intends to be in force by April 2023.

“Taken together these two initiatives have real potential to save lives, and rebalance the environment in favour of pedestrians to create communities that put people before cars” Lee Waters said.