Chris Evans, Member of Parliament for Islwyn learned about the problems pavement parking and street clutter cause for people with sight loss when they met the charity Guide Dogs at Labour party conference.
Cars blocking pavements are one of the main barriers preventing people with sight loss from walking the streets safely, and in some cases can force people onto the road.
YouGov polling on behalf of the charity Guide Dogs found nearly three-quarters (72%) of people surveyed said pavement parking is common in their area.
In Wales, the Welsh Government places a high priority on enabling and encouraging more people to make everyday journeys on foot. However, this can only happen if the parking of vehicles on pavements is adequately controlled, therefore they are planning to give local councils extra powers to enforce the existing law.
In 2021 Cardiff Council ran a pilot scheme where drivers were fined £70 for parking on the pavement. Following the success of this the Welsh Government announced plans to give all local authorities the power to issue £70 penalties for pavement parking. The consultation has been delayed until next year due to pressures being faced by local authorities.
Chris Evans MP said:
‘It was great to meet with Guide Dogs at Labour Party Conference this year to discuss their ‘Open the World’ campaign to prevent pavement parking.
Pavements are fundamentally meant for people to use in safety and not intended to park vehicles. I know that pavement parking can be dangerous to pedestrians and can even lead to social isolation with some people fearful of leaving their home because it feels unsafe. It is even more dangerous for people with sight loss.’
Eleanor Briggs, Head of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns at Guide Dogs said:
‘The message from the public and local councillors is clear; our streets are not safe because of cars blocking pavements.
Parking on pavements is a nuisance for everyone, but potentially dangerous if you are a wheelchair user forced onto the road, pushing a child in a buggy or have sight loss and can’t see traffic coming towards you.
This daily threat can mean people can’t safely get to work, education or to see friends. This is why we’re calling for a law that would empower local councils to tackle this problem.’