Drivers could soon be fined for parking on pavements under plans being considered by the Department for Transport (DfT).
Currently, London is the only part of the UK where motorists are banned from parking on pavements and a Â£70 fine is handed out to those breaking the law.
Now, the DfT is considering plans to bring England and Wales into line with the capital, with similar proposals being considering in Scotland.
Ministers and local authorities want to see the practice, which causes obstructions for wheelchairs users, visually impaired pedestrians and parents with pushchairs, brought to an end, with proposals expected to be finalised later this year.
Responding to a parliamentary question. Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: â€œThe Department for Transport has been considering the scope for improving the traffic regulation order process.
â€œHowever, the department is now undertaking a broader piece of work to gather evidence on the issue of pavement parking. We expect to be able to draw conclusions later this year.â€
Last year the Local Government Association called for its members to be given more powers to tackle. Its transport spokesman Martin Tett said: “Councils in the capital have been able to ban pavement parking for many years and it seems a nonsense that local authorities outside London remain unable to do this.
“Local authorities need this power to respond to concerns raised by their communities, for example if a street is becoming dangerously congested or pedestrians are being forced to step out into the street to get round parked vehicles. In addition, repairing kerbs, verges and pavements damaged by pavement parking is expensive.â€
No blanket ban
The plan has received a mixed response. The prospect of removing obstructions for pedestrians has been welcomed but concerns have been raised over access problems on narrow streets and the introduction of more fines for drivers.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: â€œMotorists thinking that theyâ€™re doing their fellow road users a favour by parking up on the pavement should also have an eye to the people whose paths they might be blocking, particularly in built-up areas where thoughtless parking can mean wheelchair users and parents with prams or buggies have to contend with motor traffic.â€
Edmund King, president of the AA, warned however: â€œThere are some streets that are so narrow that if cars park on both sides it wouldnâ€™t allow emergency vehicles or bin lorries to get through.
â€œWe would be concerned if there was a blanket ban because it is clearly possible in some areas to park on the pavement while still allowing room for pushchairs or people in wheelchairs to pass.â€
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com added: â€œThe introduction of yet more parking fines will undoubtedly see some resentment from drivers.
â€œItâ€™s incredibly important that the street-sides are clear to prevent any obstacles for pedestrians, but councils must recognise that parking is already a struggle for most drivers due to the lack of available spaces and existing restrictions.â€
While the DfT changes would only apply in England and Wales, similar moves are also being considered in Scotland. Last year the Scottish Government held a consultation into improving parking, including proposals for parking on pavements to be banned.