Devon County Council has welcomed a new government report calling for a nationwide ban on pavement parking.
The Transport Committee is recommending the creation of a new civil offence of obstructive pavement parking. It proposes enforcement should be the responsibility of local authorities.
The report states that in the future a ban on pavement parking should be rolled out across England. The practice has been banned in London since 1974.
It says the Government “must act” to improve the situation across the rest of England. However, it accepts it is not something that can happen quickly.
The committee is recommending the government launch an awareness campaign. It also wants to see a full consultation take place with local authorities about how to make the process of enforcement easier and more cost effective.
Devon County Council submitted written evidence to the committee, describing how the issue is a major safety concern for Devon residents. More than 120 communities in Devon reported incidents last year.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “We’ve been calling for some time now for local councils to be given the powers to tackle pavement parking and I’m pleased to see that this new report agrees with that. We were among those to submit evidence to the committee and it appears our comments have been taken on board.
“Pavement parking affects people’s safety and impacts on some of the most vulnerable pedestrians. It also damages our pavements, often leaving cracked slabs which pose further safety problems.
“However, there are currently no specific powers for our Civil Parking Enforcement Officers to enforce ‘obstruction’ of highways or footways.
“Hopefully this new report moves us a step closer to finally being able to deal with this issue on our local roads.”
The Government has been looking at the issue of parking on pavements since 2015 and the Transport Committee’s report criticises the Department for Transport saying action “to tackle the problem of pavement parking has been slow”, leaving some communities “blighted by unsightly and obstructive pavement parking”.
It states that people with mobility difficulties, visual impairments and those who care for others are particular adversely affected by the issue.