The Law

There is currently no legal right in law to park on any part of the highway, this means that there is no legal right to park even on the carriageway i.e. the road, let alone on the footway or on any verge at the side of the road.

The 1931 Highway Code stated that “No vehicle should be left standing on the highway for a longer time than is reasonable in the circumstances”. The Road Traffic Acts of both 1930 and 1960 include instructions about how authorities could create legal on-street parking bays, this implies that parking elsewhere was an ‘obstruction’ and therefore should not be allowed. The 1026 Automobile Association Handbook (Page183-184) also included a similar description of the processes of creating on street parking facilities, this implies that the process was in force at that time. This was then carried forward into Section 81 of The Road Traffic Act 1960 but was then repealed in an act of the same name from 1972.

The Highways Act 1980 (Section 66) includes an obligation on councils to “provide in or by the side of a highway … a proper and sufficient footway as part of the highway in any case where they consider the provision of a footway as necessary of desirable for the safety or accommodation of pedestrians.”

In December 1986 there was a discussion paper entitled ‘Pavement Parking – Curbing an Abuse’ published by the Department of Transport. This received some 450 comments but nothing else came of it and nothing was done at all.

Here is an extract taken from the Pedestrian Liberation blog on
In 2001 a parliamentary select committee on ‘walking in towns’ reported that  “In contrast to the changes made to every town and city to ease motor transport, walking has been made ever more unpleasant. Pedestrians have been treated with contempt. In a myriad of ways when we walk we are treated with less respect than when we drive.”

Also, in 2006 The Parlimentary Select committee on ‘Parking and Enforcement’ reported that ‘Parking on the pavement is likely to cause a grave danger to pedestrians. In particular, it creates hazards for people with disabilities and visual impairments, older people, and those with prams or pushchairs … We accept that the problem of vehicles obstructing footpaths country-wide is a large one and a major effort would be required to enforce the law. But the ‘do- nothing’ response of the Department is no longer a credible option. To periodically examine what is widely accepted as a problem and then fail to take any positive measures is not the quality of response that the general public has a right to expect from the Department’.

According to the Highways Act 1980 ( Section 148 and Section 149) it is an offence if ‘a person deposits any thing whatsoever on a highway to the interruption of any user of the highway without lawful authority or excuse or if the thing “constitutes a nuisance” ‘ or constitutes a “danger to users of the highway (including a danger caused by obstructing the view)” then they they can remove it without delay and recover the cost of removal from the owner. This can be used by councils (sometimes) to removed advertising boards.



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