THE Welsh Government is to give Council’s greater powers to crack down on pavement parking.
Ministers are backing the recommendations of an independent expert group set up by the Deputy Transport Minister, Lee Waters MS, that will give Councils additional civil enforcement powers to fine problem parkers.
“The current law is not as clear as it could be” Lee said. “There is no specific offence of parking on pavements, and though the Police can enforce the existing criminal offence of causing ‘unnecessary obstruction of any part of the highway’, it is rarely enforced”, he added.
The Welsh Pavement Parking Taskforce rejected the outright ban being pursued in Scotland, which is set to take five years to implement, as overly slow and complex. Instead it has set out a plan to equip local authorities to act from July 2022. The UK Government has only recently begun to consult on a way to tackle the problem in England.
Lee Waters confirmed the proposals would target hot-spot areas where pavement parking was done out of convenience and ill-consideration rather than necessity.
“We want more people to walk for short journeys and yet we tolerate an environment that is not pedestrian friendly; too many routes are cluttered or blocked.”
“We recognise that in some streets there are too many cars for the space available and we don’t want to penalise people who have no alternative. This pragmatic solution lets Council’s target hotspots and vary its approach depending on local circumstances”, Lee told the Senedd.
The Deputy Minister stressed that these new powers needed to be seen alongside his wider proposals for Wales’ future transport system, including changing the default speed limit in all residential areas to 20mph, and investing over £38 million in active travel schemes this year alone.
“We’ll be setting out in the new Wales Transport Strategy how we want to encourage modal shift to make it easier for people to rely less on cars for everyday journeys. This is as much about changing hearts and minds as it is about hard enforcement, and over time we want this to become the norm.”
“Taken together, this package of measures I’ve announced has real potential to not only save lives, but improve the quality of them, rebalancing the environment in favour of pedestrians and creating communities that put people before cars.”