The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation that will look at banning parking on the pavement across the country as a way to help boost active travel.
The DfT is proposing three options, including improving the traffic regulation order process to make it easier for councils to prohibit pavement parking in their areas, giving councils powers to fine drivers who park on paths and a London-style nationwide ban on pavement parking.
However, it said there is still a major role for cars and other private vehicles, so any future plans will need to take this into consideration.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Parking on pavements means wheelchair users, visually impaired people and parents with push chairs can be forced into the road, which is not only dangerous, but discourages people from making journeys.
“A key part of our green, post-Covid recovery will be encouraging more people to choose active travel, such as walking, so it is vital that we make the nation’s pavements accessible for everyone.”
Recent research from the charity Guide Dogs shows that 32% of people with vision impairments and 48% of wheelchair users were less willing to go out on their own because of pavement parking, decreasing independence and contributing towards isolation.
As many streets were built decades and centuries before the high levels of vehicles currently on roads, any measures will need to ensure the free-flow of traffic and access for the emergency services.
The consultation is the government’s latest step to deliver on commitments to make transport equally accessible for all users by 2030, as set out in the Inclusive Transport Strategy.
The consultation follows the DfT’s £2 billion Gear Change package that sets out its ambitions to revolutionise active travel.
It is also investing a further £2.5bn towards repairing potholes to further improve the roads for drivers, cyclists and those using rental e-scooters.