Crisis | Government will support Homelessness Reduction Bill

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This afternoon, Secretary of State Sajid Javid confirmed that the Government will support the Homelessness Reduction Bill.

As you will know, the bill aims to end the injustice of homeless people being turned away with little or no help by their local council because they are not considered a “priority” under the law.

This is great news. But because it’s a “Private Member’s Bill”, not government legislation, the Bill remains very vulnerable. Unless at least 100 MPs turn up to back the bill then just one opponent can block it and we could miss this historic opportunity for change.

This follows years of campaigning by tens of thousands of people like you – but now it’s vital we keep up the momentum and don’t get complacent.  

I know you have already contacted your MP but can you help us share the news – and ask your friends to make sure that their MP attends the debate?

Thanks,

Alex
Campaigns Manager

PS If you don’t use social media, please forward this email to 5 friends with a note explaining why you think they should back the bill

 

E&E Letters | Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

E&E

13 October 2016

Inconsiderate pavement parking – Let’s make it ‘cross-party’

I welcome the recent thoughts of Cllr Peter Holland on the issue of inconsiderate pavement parking [Anger over inconsiderate pavement parking in ExeterE&E, 10 October 2016] as they echo the same comments I’ve been making for the past five years.

Cllr Holland is correct that section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 did outlaw the practice of parking on footpaths [ie pavements] and verges, and this provision was enforced by traffic wardens under the direction of Devon & Cornwall Police.

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section-30-of-exeter-city-council-act-1987

However, Cllr Holland is mistaken in saying “when the responsibility for enforcement of the law was transferred to Devon County Council the law went into ‘decay’.”

The truth is that when parking enforcement was decriminalised in May 2008, those powers transferred to Devon County Council and now Civil Enforcement Officers [CEOs] enforce using powers issued by the Secretary of State for Transport [The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP] under regulations contained within the Traffic Management Act 2004.

And in the rush to transfer powers to DCC, the provisions of the Exeter Act 1987 were missed.

A new power was conveyed by Statutory Instrument 2012 No.12 issued by the Government under the TMA 2004. Within its Schedules, the Statutory Instrument details which restrictions can be enforced by DCC’s CEOs.

statutory-instrument-2012-no-12Civil enforcement of offences in section 30 of the Exeter City Council Act 1987
2. In Schedule 7 to the Traffic Management Act 2004 (road traffic contraventions subject to civilenforcement), in paragraph 4 (parking contraventions outside Greater London), after subparagraph
(2)(e) insert—
“(ea) an offence under section 30(1) of the Exeter City Council Act 1987 (c. xi)(prohibition of parking vehicles on verges, central reservations and footways).”(b)

However, the situation was complicated in that the Department for Transport informed DCC – as the Local Highways Authority – that it would require additional signage, at intervals of around 400m, to enforce the new legislation.

And, of course, there are some roads which would be blocked without pavement parking,

Indeed the P bus – which coincidently serves both my ward of St Thomas and that of Cllr Holland – would be unable to make its way down Barley Farm Road if all the vehicles parked on the road.

If the situation is complicated in Exeter, then it is even more complex nationally.

The only mention of pavement parking in the Highway Code is under Rule 244:
“You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.”

The direction MUST NOT is legally enforceable [under the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 section 15] but should not is an advisory direction, not an enforceable one.

There is little or nothing DCC’s Civil Enforcement Officers can do in this situation – unless the vehicle is causing damage to the pavement, when the driver *could* be prosecuted. In practice, this rarely happen, if at all.

Interestingly [as it pre-dates motorised vehicles], under section 72 of the Highways Act 1837 it is an offence to wilfully [but note, not park] “a carriage of any description upon the footpath.” But this can only be enforced by a warrant Police Officer, who needs to see the carriage actually driving on the footpath – even though to park on the pavement, the vehicle must have been driven onto it.

And it is also an offence under the Highways Act 1980 and also under s.28 of the Town and Police Clauses Act 1847 to “wilfully obstruct free passage along the highway or deposit anything which causes an interruption to, or obstruction of, the highway [including any public footpath or public thoroughfare].

In these cases, enforcement is the responsibility of warranted Police Officers and authorised PCSOs, rather than DCC’s CEOs.

At a meeting of the joint Exeter City Council and Devon CC’s joint Exeter Highways and Traffic Orders Committee [HATOC] held on 28 July 2015 [see minute 119], County Officers expressed confidence that a Private Members’ Bill  being brought forward by Simon Hoare MP [CON, North Devon], which would resolve the whole issue of inconsiderate pavement parking.

exeter-hatoc-minute-119

I wasn’t convinced at the meeting that the Bill would proceed, and so it came to pass that on 08 December 2015, after a debate in the House of Commons, Simon Hoare withdrew his Pavement Parking (Protection of Vulnerable Pedestrians) Bill 2015-16 because he had been promised that “DfT would undertake some work to examine more closely the legal and financial implication of an alternative regime.”

So Cllr Holland’s own Government appears to kicked the issue into the long grass.

I note he hopes to raise the issue when the Minister, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, visits the city later this month.

Let me make this offer – we could make this a cross-party issue and I would be happy to meet the Minister along with him.

Paul Bull
Labour & Co-operative Councillor, St Thomas Ward

Ask your MP to back the Pavement Parking bill now.

A message from Living Streets about Martin Horwood’s Pavement Parking Bill 2014, which is scheduled to receive it’s Second Reading on 12 September 2015.

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Dear Paul,

Pavement parking is a daily obstacle course that forces parents with children, older people and those with less mobility to walk unsafely in the road. Outside London, the law on pavement parking is confusing and makes it difficult for councils to crack down on irresponsible parking.

But right now we’ve got a chance to change this. We asked MPs to submit a bill to Parliament making pavement parking illegal, and Martin Horwood MP heard us. He’s tabled a bill that would prohibit pavement parking across England and Wales.

We have a rare chance to get the law changed and protect our streets all over the country. But Martin needs the support of other MPs for the bill to be progressed.

We need to act quickly – Martin Horwood’s bill reaches its second reading this Friday 12th September. Whether it goes any further depends on MPs supporting it in Parliament.

They need to know this is important to us. They need to hear what a difference could be made to people’s lives with a proper ban on pavement parking. Contact your MP now, asking them to attend the debate and support the bill.

The frustration and the dangers caused by pavement parking aren’t the only reason to act, it’s costing us a small fortune. Between 2006-10 council’s spent £1 billion on fixing pavements and £100 million on compensation to people hurt on damaged pavements. That money could be used for real improvements to streets, not just patching up damage caused by irresponsible parking.

Let your MP know now that you need a proper law on pavement parking. Email them now.

Thank you,

Anna Collins
Policy & Campaigns Coordinator, Living Streets

P.S. It’s important we act now on this rare opportunity, with the second reading just days away. Please take a moment now to contact your MP.