Is it illegal to park on the pavement?

Pavement parking may be banned across England following calls from a group of MPs. So what are the current parking laws, and how might they change in the future?

Pavement parking may be banned across England following calls from a group of MPs. So what are the current parking laws, and how might they change in the future?

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
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Posted 7 NOVEMBER 2019

The trouble with pavement parking

Pavement parking is defined as when one or more of a vehicle’s wheels are on the pavement. It’s a devolved issue – so different parts of the UK have different rules. While the current legal situation is the same in Northern Ireland as it is in England, the Scottish Parliament has passed a bill banning pavement parking and double parking.

Pavement parking creates difficulties for disabled people and children. But with many areas lacking parking places and no off-street parking, it’s something many drivers have probably found themselves doing.

Parking rules in London

Since 1974, rule 244 of the Highway Code has stated that drivers "MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London."

There are places in London where signs permit pavement parking. However, as a general rule, you can expect a £70 fine for pavement parking in the capital.

Parking rules outside of London

Parking on the pavement outside of London is a grey area, legally speaking. It’s treated differently, depending on the rules of your local council and the area you’re parking in.

To simplify this, let’s look at two rules in the Highway Code that could affect your legal right to park on the pavement outside London.

  • Rule 244: advisory

While the Highway Code states categorically that drivers ‘MUST NOT’ park on the pavement in London, for other parts of the country the law says drivers ‘SHOULD NOT’ park on the pavement, unless doing so is specifically signposted.

This means that legally, outside the capital, you have the right to park on the pavement as long as doing so doesn’t break any other driving laws.

  • Rule 242: the exceptions

Highway Code rule 242 states: "You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road."

Under this rule, police can penalise you if they deem your parking to be dangerous or in any way causing an obstruction to the road.

This would land you with a Fixed Penalty Notice, which includes a fine and sometimes penalty points on your licence. Fines for parking offences vary from council to council, but are usually around the £70.

Daniel Hutson

From the Motor team

“Drivers should always use common sense when parking, checking the road signs and being aware of parking laws in the local area."

When will the pavement parking law change?

In November 2018, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced its decision to re-evaluate the issue of pavement parking in the UK with the intention of completing their survey by the end of the year.

But in April 2019, Jesse Norman MP said that the DfT was still: “…considering the findings of its internal review on the issue of pavement parking, and will be announcing the decision in the coming months.”

The Transport Committee has criticised the failure to take action on the issue and is now calling for a nationwide ban on pavement parking across England outside London, with a publicity campaign to highlight the negative consequences of pavement parking.

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