Later today, Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] meet at County Hall
One of the items on the agenda is an update on Parking on Pavements.
it will be interesting to hear what will be said because, despite what’s been said and written n recent weeks, to is not necessary an offence to park on a pavement
Some thoughts for the meeting
1) The current legal position
Under s.137 of Highways Act 1980 it is the duty of the highway authority to assert and protect the rights of the public to use and enjoy the highway (the term highway in this instance includes footways = pavements).
It is a criminal offence under HA 1980 and also under s.28 of Town & Police Clauses Act 1847 to wilfully obstruct free passage along the highway or to deposit anything which causes an interruption to, or obstruction of, the highway (including any public footpath or public thoroughfare).
Under s.72 of Highways Act 1837 it is an offence to wilfully drive ant carriage of any description upon the footpath.
And regulation 103 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1985 states that no person in charge of a motor vehicle…shall cause or permit the vehicle to stand on the road so as to cause unnecessary obstruction of the road. This included vehicles parked on footpaths and contravention of this regulation is a criminal offence and the police can require removal of the vehicle.
Of course, Highway Code rule 244 is clear of the situation in London using MUST NOT, but for the rest of the country the rule is the less forceful SHOULD NOT.
The above begs the question – who is responsible for enforcement in each case? Police (and do PCSOs have any powers in such cases)? Or Civil Enforcement Officers?
And of course, what time and priority should be given to enforcement? To use a phrase I often hear in relation to speeding in 20 mph zones – there must be a responsible and proportionate approach to enforcement
2) Decriminalised Parking Enforcement
The Road Traffic Act 1991 (c. 40) provided for the decriminalisation of parking-related contraventions, with enforcement
carried out by civil enforcement officers, operating on behalf of a local authority
However some parking offences can still be enforced by the police, as outlined by this report on Civil Parking Enforcement: New Responsibilities that was considered by Devon County Council’s Executive on 17 October 2006
On the 5 May 2008, responsibility for on-street parking enforcement in Devon passed from the police to local authorities and traditional traffic wardens were replaced by new Civil Enforcement Officers
But at this time the Exeter Act 1987 was not repealed and so I believe that parking on the verge or footway of an urban road is still a CRIMINAL offence enforceable by a police officer.
3) Traffic Management Act 2004 (Amendment of Schedule 7) (City of Exeter) Regulations
Even after all my previous research and the numerous discussions held at Exeter HATOC, I have just come across a Staututory Instrument, the Traffic Management Act 2004 (Amendment of Schedule 7) (City of Exeter) Regulations 2012, which came into force on 30th January 2012.
There is also this Explanatory Memorandum to Traffic Management Act 2004 (Amendment of Schedule 7) (City of Exeter) Regulations 2012 [2012 No.12].
It appears that these Regulations amend paragraph 4 of that Schedule (parking contraventions outside Greater London) by adding to the list of such contraventions the offence under section 30(1) of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 of parking vehicles, other than certain heavy commercial vehicles, on verges, central reservations and footways.
4) Freeing pedestrians from pavement parking blight
In Feb 2011, Norman Baker sent a letter to all local authorities telling them to use their powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem. [ DfT News Story: Freeing pedestrians from pavement parking blight, 21 February 2011]
What was DCC’s response to this instruction?
5) Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill 2015-16
Recent updates to Exeter HATOC have talked about the progress of a Bill through Parliament – this was a Private Members Bill presented by Martin Horwood who came last of 20 in the 2014 ballot. The Bill never made any Parliamentary progress, not even having the Second Reading in the House of Commons , despite appearing on the Order Paper twice.
Simon Hoare – just up the road in North Dorset – came 10th of 20 in this year’s ballot.
Is there any information that would suggest this PMB will make further progress?
One of the problems of problem I forsee if Simon Hoares’ Private Members Bill does make it onto the Statute Books is that following enactment any permitted pavement parking would need to be authorised by an expensive TRO.
In Cowick there are already exemptions for Sussex Close and Wiltshire Close, but I can see TRPs being needed for pavement parking along Barley Farm Road just so that the P bus can make its journey towards the city centre unhindered.
And what about Merrivale Road? And so on.
So the isn’t going to be the silver bullet we all hope it will be.
6) Partial pavement parking
We know around all our divisions that some roads would come to a halt if pavement parking wasn’t possible.
I can list Sussex Close and Wiltshire Close that allowed partial pavement parking under Exeter Act 1987.
But without partial pavement parking, the P bus cannot make progress down Barley Farm Road. And Merrivale Road would be almost impassable.
So we have a problem.
We have be able to allow partial pavement parking – but in a way that doesn’t make the pavement an obstacle course for people with mobility issues, have visual impairments and parents using buggies and pushchairs.
Under the Exeter Act its quite easy for HATOC to agree an exemption for those narrow closes and cul-de-sacs (for many around the city those are in place, but we can all think of others).
But to deal with the major routes, it’s probably going to be necessary for a TRO, signs and lines to be put in place to ensure pedestians can pass without obstruction.
Slough have recently put this into practice – has this done under the provisions of Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3 (Regulatory Signs 2008) p73 which shows the painted partial parking bay (diagram 1028.4) with accompanying signs (diagrams 667.1 and 667.2) with all the costs advertising TRO etc or by some other means?
7) Damage of grass verges
Highways Act 1980 s131 makes it is an offence to damage a highway (including a footpath) without lawful authority or excuse and can be punishable by a claim for criminal damages.
And in Blackpool, CEOs are issuing PCNs for damage to grass strips.
Have DCC given any thought to this? If DC are required to carry out remedial work due to damageto grass verges or footways, can they seek to recover any expenses incurred and prosecute persistant offenders?
8) Advisory Enforcement Notices
At Full Council on 23 July Cllr Hart in a written reply to a question from Cllr Percy Prowse [Question 13] mentioned advisory enforcement notices?
What are these?
And how will these be used?
Are the police on-board with this?
Is there to be a publicity campaign?
9) How has review of Traffic Signs & Generla Directions affected progress?
I understand that the situation in Exeter has been complicated by the long-running review of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 and subsequent amendments.
TSRGD 2002 proscibes what road signs are needed and where they should go for every traffic regulation.
Without suitble regulations in place (and DfT not making decisions in their absence) on signage for Exeter Act 1987, I’m guessing the issue is about legality and risk of prosecution, with people more likely to challenge a parking fine.
I’m assuming that at a time when council budgets are being cut, an extremely cautious approach has been adopted?
And since the draft version has been consulted on, is there an estimate when the TSRGD 2015 come into force?