Having walked around Exmouth in June 2013 blindfolded and led by a guide dog in support of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, I know first-hand of the problems that vehicles parked on pavements can cause for people in wheelchairs, those with pushchairs and particularly those who are blind or visually impaired.
Improving access for disabled people is a key priority for the Government and the Department for Transport, which is why the Transport Minister, Andrew Jones, will convene a round table in 2016 to discuss pavement parking issues. The Department for Transport will also re-examine the legal and financial implications of a national ban on pavement parking, and the likely impacts on local authorities. Whilst it is too early to commit to broader action without a firm evidence base and cross-Government discussions, I hope you will welcome this news.
More broadly, we have made it easier for councils to tackle pavement parking. While there is an historic ban on pavement parking throughout London, elsewhere any local authority that has taken up civil enforcement powers may introduce a ban on pavement parking where it sees fit. In 2011, Ministers gave all councils authorisation to use a sign banning parking on the pavement, removing the need to ask Whitehall first for permission. Ministers also then wrote to councils on several occasions encouraging them to use their available powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem. The Department for Transport has also published guidance for traffic authorities highlighting the difficulties that pavement parking causes for pedestrians and detailing ways that it can be prevented.