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Changes to Parking Laws in England

Updated on September 15, 2018
ethel smith profile image

Born in the 1950s in Yorkshire where she still lives this English woman has a keen interest in politics, travel, music and animal welfare

Prime example


England, or rather many of its citizens. is engaged in a love affair with the car, and that is negatively impacting on some cities and towns.

For those of us who live in what is termed terraced houses it can mean the decimation of gardens. Now, fair enough some people have nowhere else to safely park their cars. However, where I live for example, every house has its own garage within their rear garden area.

Still, our local council in all its wisdom, has let people block pave their front gardens, in order for these people to be able to park their vehicles. If we had large gardens I guess it would not matter so much as we would be able to combine a garden area with a parking area.

However this is not possible.

Gardens have been destroyed and the council has greedily taken the money it charges residents, to drop the kerb or curb outside their garden and tarmac this piece of pavement, so that it is conveniently sloped for vehicle access.

I will use where I live as a prime example of such a council's stupidity.

Our area suffered severe flooding in June 2007. It was a known fact that reducing gardens to concrete jungles had, and would continue, to impact on this.

One side of our road allows parking but at the side where I live there are double yellow lines. Driving is one way.

LObviously turning gardens into open air garages will have less impact on the side with double yellow lines. However most of the gardens at the side with parking allowed have been paved.

Once people have paid to have their section of kerb and pavement or sidewalk altered they are reluctant to let anyone park outside their home.

Well lucky them, the Government has changed the parking laws to accommodate these people.

It‘s strange isn’t it, when you consider that at one time the government claimed to be against such block paving because it was detrimental to the environment. I wonder if the money councils are charging is a contributory factor in this change of heart?

The changing parking laws

Local press reported this week that parking laws are changing. Here is what it says:-

Parking your car across a pedestrian crossing point is inconsiderate and can be dangerous for pedestrians and people with disabilities.

In June 2009 the Government made it a national offence to park so that your vehicle obstructs a dropped kerb.

From Monday August 31, 2009, the driver of any vehicle so parked, in our city, will receive a £70 parking penalty notice.

My opinion

First let me say that I have no vehicle. Yes I hear you shouting well its alright for you then. However, like all of my neighbours I have a large garage.

Today showed a prime example of our councils stupidity.

A large dust cart, or refuse collection service, was patrolling the area in order to collect extra household waste. This was a great idea aimed at preventing people dumping large furniture and other household items anywhere and everywhere.

Lo and behold I heard this mighty vehicle running its engine and saw that it was parked slap bang outside of my home. As it was Saturday, my Hubby was trying to sleep, as he had done a night shift Friday and was due to work the same Saturday.

I went out and politely asked the driver to move or turn off the engine. He seemed a nice guy and was very apologetic, and did move on.

However, as he said he had parked there because "with all the dropped kerbs there were not many places that he could park".

Of course he was parked on double yellow lines outside of my home, but I suppose that's alright?

In the past, even before these new laws I, and others, have had large vehicles parked half on the pavement and half in the road outside of our homes, as they could not park in front of a dropped kerb. This has knackered the pavement and meant that pedestrians have to walk along the road.

The pavements are now a hotch potch of uneven tarmac due to cheap repairs by the council and where each sloped pavement starts and stops. Even if two houses, next door to each other, have this alteration done there is usually a gap in between. Partially sighted, the elderly and those with mobility issues have to manoeuvre this unsafe wibbly wobbly way.

With relatives who are not young spring chickens parking blocks away from me and walking the last lap to our home I find it more than annoying that some people just choose to park on the pavement.

It would seem that as long as a dropped kerb is not blocked it does not matter. This of course adds to the poor condition of the paths and pavements.

Of course if I read these new laws correctly vehicles will no longer be able to be parked on pavements but I doubt this will be enforced. It never has in the past even when access has been blocked.

So I wonder how will these new laws will be monitored?

In the past when vehicles have been blocking pavements, as they are parked on them, no response has ever been forthcoming.

I would also like to ask if the people who have dropped kerbs, who then let their friends and relatives park so that this exit is blocked, will also be penalized?

In conclusion

On the whole the issue is a minefield.

The best way to solve the parking problem where I live would be to make it No Parking, Full Stop. This would stop some of the petty arguments which I have witnessed and which seem a problem currently.

I guess the only way this problem will be solved though is if every property has this dropped kerb facility.

Surely the council does not want that though, or do they?

It is obviously lucrative for them and a cheap way for the council to re tarmac pavements.

© 2009 Ethel Smith


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    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thank you for your well thoughtout answer flighty. As where I live only had parking on one side of the road these changes have caused problems. I sympathise with those who have no other means of parking but where I live everyone has a garage, some double ones. In smaller roads like mine the effect of such parking on what were once small gardens has had the effect of turning the area into one huge car park. So as well as increasing our risk of further flooding the area looks rubbish now. The loss of birds and butterflies and the like is also noticeable.

      I guess as I have managed to get to my age without missing the car I do not have I cannot relate to this love affair with the car.

    • flighty02 profile image


      11 years ago

      A very interesting article… Although paving over one or two gardens may not seem to make much difference I whole heartedly agree that the combined effect of lots of people doing this in a street could contribute to an increase in the chances of flooding.

      The problem is that the rain runs off, or takes longer to soak into the paving than it would in a traditional garden and the drains which were probably built many years ago just weren’t designed to cope with the sort of increased amount of rainwater flowing into them.

      However, I have some sympathy with your local Council too *waits for the chorus of boos* :-) Only recently (I believe October 1998) have you needed planning permission to block pave a drive or garden and in these days many households have two or more cars, let’s say the husband, wife and eldest child living at the same address all have a car… If there are several instances of this in the case of a terrace row then somebody will not be able to park their cars outside their house and will not be happy. What does this somebody do? Apply for planning permission to pave their gardens or complain to the Councils Highways department of course and request a parking review. The Councils Highways resources are probably limited as funds have been diverted away from into other areas and so there are limitations as to what they can do.

      In my area, the Council does not have its own labour force to carry out works to dropped crossings all works are done by private contractors… Certainly not a lucrative job for the Highways department then… I can’t vouch for Planning, I don’t know what they charge for permission.

      To restrict parking on any stretch or road is a lengthy process requiring a legal order which can be very costly and eat into funds that your Council desperately needs just to maintain the highway.

      What is the answer then? I don’t know. There are just too many cars on the road today… even if huge improvements were made to the public transport system would people revert to being a single car household? I doubt it, we like the convenience our cars bring. In my opinion the very least that the Planners should insist on, if they continue to allow this, is that the materials used in paving the garden should be porous so that any rainfall at least has a chance of soaking through and not running off and overburdening the existing drainage systems.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I know Amanda. The Governement and Councils just cannot seem to make their minds up. With our flooding experience 2 years ago I do not want to see more concrete and less garden area.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 

      11 years ago from UK

      Hi Ethel, I just saw on the news that rail prices are going up yet again. The government spouts off about public transport and how we should be using it more, but where's the incentive? I live in a terraced Victorian house in a road where most homeowners have one or more vehicles, and it's hard to get parked most of the time. I don't really know what the answer is, but I guess it's out there somewhere!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I know EverythingMouse. We have more too much traffic for such a small country. No-one wants to travel on the bus, or walk and each family member now has a car. However the homes and roads where many of us live just were not designed with this in mind.

    • EverythingMouse profile image


      11 years ago

      The problem of congestion of traffic in the UK just seems to be getting so much worse. I left almost a decade ago to live in the US and each time I go back I see more and more cars on the roads.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks emohealer. I only see a negative when gardens are destroyed.

    • emohealer profile image

      Sioux Ramos 

      11 years ago from South Carolina


      How nice that you presented this information, but clarified that it is from your perspective and your opinion of the impact. Sounds kind of crazy, perplexing as to what the real parking goal is and if there is a real solution. I hope a resolution can be found and just maybe your hub can help bring it about. Good Luck!


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