The Highway Code [Rule 243] states DO NOT stop or park at a number of places, including:
- where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles
- in front of an entrance to a property
However, some drivers choose to ignore this. It is on these occasions that the Access Protection Markings can act as a reminder to drivers.
Access Protection Markings – APMs – are the H-shapped white lines at placed on the road surface alongside dropped kerbs and seemed to have been first introduced by Devon County Council to tackle the problem. They are now seen as a standard form of marking prescribed in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, which are published by Government.
The Traffic Signs Manual [TSM] published by the Department for Transport, gives guidance on the use of APM and says that they may be laid on part of the carriageway which should be kept clear of parked vehicles either outside an entrance to off-street premises, or where the kerb is dropped to provide a convenient crossing place for pedestrians.
Access protection markings are advisory markings only and cannot be enforced like regular parking restrictions as there are no legal traffic orders behind them. However, blocking an access, whether there is a line there or not, is classed as obstruction and the police may issue a fixed penalty notice for this.
When access to properties is concerned, it is only legally classed as obstruction if a vehicle is prevented from exiting a driveway. However, the police maydecide to act on any situation of access obstruction.
Although the marking is not legally enforceable, the manual suggests that , if used sparingly, ATMs may be helpful in discouraging inconsiderate parking, particularly where a problem is isolated and a Traffic Regulation Order could not be justified or easily enforced.
For more information see figure 22-4 (diagram 1026.1) on page 134 of TSM Chapter 5 – Road Markings 2003.
In order to ensure that this marking is used to maximum effect, DCC have set out qualifying criteria to ensure that ATMs are used only at appropriate locations.
In 2006, DCC policy was:
To provide an Access Protection Marking (APM) at a dropped kerb or other private access, whether vehicular or pedestrian, when there is a recognised problem.
- At a private vehicle access for a disabled blue badge holder.
- At a single private access for a number of properties to maintain emergency services vehicular access.
- At a direct pedestrian access from a property to the carriageway.
- At a dropped kerb provided for the benefit of pedestrians or wheel chair users.
- Where there is an overriding traffic management or road safety reason for keeping an access clear.
- As a part of an overall scheme of waiting restrictions.
Early in 2011, DCC told me that APMs were only nomrmally being considered where the owner/occupier also holds a disabled parking ‘Blue Badge’, but a case would be looked into on an individual basis where it can be shown there are exceptional circumstances
When the matter of ATMs was discussed at meeting of Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee held on 22 April 2014, where the officers report outlined:
At present an APM may be provided at a private vehicle access used by a disabled Blue badge holder. The applicant should be the Blue badge holder, and normally the driver or regular passenger of the vehicle. The vehicle should be based at the applicant’s property and the driver is also resident.
Alternatively, an APM can be provided if the local highways officer confirms there is a recognised problem at one of the following locations:
- ar a single private access for 3 or more premises;
- at a direct pedestrian access from a property to the carriageway;
- at a dropped kerb or a direct access provided for the benefit of pedestrians or wheelchair uses; or
- where there is an overriding traffic management or road safety reason for keeping an access clear.
The report also states that DCC reserves the right to remove an APM and suggests that each time an APM is considered for remarking [when faded, or after a road has been resurfaced] it must be confirmed that the above criteria are met.
However current guidance on ATMs is outlined on the DCC website and states:
We may provide access protection bar markings when there is a recognised problem:
- at a private access for a disabled blue badge holder which has dropped kerb access to a driveway or garage
- at a single private access for a number of properties to maintain access for emergency services vehicles
Phone 0345 155 1004 if you believe that your property needs markings for one of these reasons.
The cost to place an APM is approximately £80 and the cost is currently met by DCC’s On-Street Parking budget.
But that might be the case in the future – DCC are looking at an option to charge applicants for a new APM as part of their public consultation on parking for people with disabilities [consultation ends 12 January 2015].
The options include: