Powers to ban pavement parking should be extended across England to make streets safer, according to a report published by councils.
Wheelchair users, older people and parents with pushchairs are among those put at risk by having to navigate around vehicles mounted on kerbs, a study commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) warned.
The investigation found some vehicles cause “a complete obstruction to someone walking or wheeling”, meaning they have “no option but to enter the carriageway to continue their journey”.
Pavement parking can also damage the surface, creating trip hazards and leading to costly repairs, the report by active travel charity Sustrans and disability rights organisation Transport for All added.
London is the only area in England where pavement parking is banned.
A Department for Transport (DfT) consultation on giving councils in the rest of the country the power to prohibit pavement parking ended in November 2020, but no announcement has been made.
The LGA said a change in the rules is “long overdue” and would help councils protect older and vulnerable people from injury, as well as support national targets to increase levels of walking and cycling.
LGA transport spokesman Darren Rodwell said: “Pavement parking is one of the biggest complaints from pedestrians, but three years on, councils outside of London still do not have the powers they need to tackle this scourge.
“Vulnerable and disabled people including wheelchair users, as well as parents with pushchairs, are forced into the road due to some drivers’ inconsiderate parking, presenting a real hazard and potential danger to life.
“Repairing kerbs and pavements damaged by pavement parking is also expensive and this funding could be better used to resurface our roads and pavements, support local buses and provide more suitable parking.
RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “Pavement parking is at best inconvenient and at worst hazardous for pedestrians and those in wheelchairs, but in England there’s still a massive question about if and when controls will ever be introduced.
“Rather than an outright ban, we think it would be more effective if local authorities were given enforcement powers to prevent unnecessary pavement obstructions.
“This prevents the need for them having to survey all their roads to work out where exemptions need to be made.”
City of Edinburgh Council became the first in Scotland to enforce a nationwide ban on pavement parking on January 29.
Glasgow City Council said it will begin enforcement “in the near future”.
The Welsh Government is due to launch a consultation on restricting pavement parking this year.
A DfT spokesperson said: “Everyone should be able to navigate their streets without obstacles, and while local authorities already have powers to prohibit pavement parking through local regulation, we have consulted on further helping them take action.
“The response to this will be published in due course.”