Sunderland MP backs Guide Dogs’ moves to ban pavement parking

Sharon Hodgson with her Guide Dog gold star.
Sharon Hodgson with her Guide Dog gold star.
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A Sunderland MP was given a star on Guide Dogs’ Walk of Fame for supporting the charity’s campaign to stop cars parking on pavements.

Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, attended Guide Dogs’ event at the Houses of Parliament.

The charity wants people living with sight loss to feel confident and independent when they are out and about, and believes that vehicles parked on pavements put them and their service dogs in danger.

The event highlighted the problems faced daily by guide dog owners who are being forced to walk into the road to avoid cars blocking their path.

MPs heard from one guide dog owner who had even considered giving up his guide dog, because of the constant obstructions he faced.

Pavement parking is already an offence in London, but the rules in the rest of the country are complex and patchy, leaving drivers uncertain of where they can and cannot park.

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is calling for the introduction of comprehensive laws across the UK, which will outlaw pavement parking.

Speaking after the event Mrs Hodgson said: “Listening to all of the evidence and the stories of people’s experiences, it is clear that something needs to be done to help people with sight loss.

“We all need to better understand the challenges people face every day, and whenever we have the ability to make their lives easier and more independent, we need to act.”