Supporting Guide Dogs campaign to end pavement parking

I have met with the Guide Dogs charity to discuss the impact of pavement parking / clutter on our streets and its impact for people with sight loss or other disabilities.

Pavement parking is a growing problem as more and more homes are built without off road parking meaning that car owners are parking on pavements. This is combined with streets which are becoming more cluttered with wheelie bins, road signs, traffic cones, and bicycles to name but a few.

65% of drivers admitted, in a recent survey undertaken by the Guide Dogs charity, having parked on the pavement, and when quizzed about the law 46% said they were confused. Only 5% knew fully how the law works in the UK.

These figures are reflected in the countless stories from people with sight loss, wheelchair and powerchair users and people with limited mobility who face dangerous pavement parking on a daily basis.

In London a law already exists to tackle this problem and dates back to 1974. The campaign wants to see England and Wales adopt this law to reduce the regional disparity, improve clarity for drivers and pedestrians, and empower local authorities and properly tackle the problem of pavement parking.

It is over 900 days since I supported the Private Member’s Bill that would have introduced a law similar to London’s across the rest of Wales and England. The UK Government blocked the previous Bill, but I will continue to press for it to be adopted.

The confusion about the law is a reminder for the need for the pavement parking Bill to be enacted. The Department of Transport has long said it will take action, but none has been forthcoming. I have written to the Secretary of State for Transport asking for him to take action now.

I was told at the campaign launch that 90% of people with sight loss frequently have problems with pavement parked cars. We need to make sure that our public spaces are accessible for everyone in our communities.