Pavement parking ban criticised by Fife Councillors

Some councillors say the ban is undeliverable.Some councillors say the ban is undeliverable.
Some councillors say the ban is undeliverable.
Fife councillors have attacked the upcoming pavement parking ban as “undeliverable” due to a lack of government funding.

From 2023 local authorities across Scotland will be in charge of enforcing the ban introduced as part of the Transport (Scotland) Act in 2019.

Transport Scotland has provided Fife Council with £106,000 so it can assess how the ban might be enforced to ensure pavements are clear for pedestrians, wheelchair users, the blind and parents with prams.

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But in the eyes of Fife transport officers, the Transport Act does not include any requirement for councils to enforce the ban.

Some of Fife's narrow streets could cause problems.Some of Fife's narrow streets could cause problems.
Some of Fife's narrow streets could cause problems.

Phil Clarke, a council transport consultant, said: “There’s a lot of talk in the background about the resource that’s needed for this and local authorities across Scotland are sharing concerns about this.

“There’s no indication that extra money is going to be made available for this – and we’re not exactly short of work just now. This is going to be a significant extra piece of work.”

As well as running the risk of “increased public unpopularity” by demanding that drivers move their cars, the council says local expectations will be of a one-stop shop to have cars removed from outside people’s homes – a service it cannot realistically deliver.

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There is also a smorgasbord of other consequences to consider – such as where people will park their cars if they cannot be left on some of Fife’s more narrow streets. The Kingdom’s complex geography and mix of historical hamlets and tightly built towns may also mean that, in some places, mounting the kerb is an inevitability.

Councillors have reacted negatively to the suggestion that there will be no funding to support the ban.

Transport convener and Labour councillor Altany Craik said: “We’re being asked to deliver something that’s almost undeliverable.

“There are unrealistic expectations of ‘there’s a car on the pavement in the street, can you get it’…it’s not an easy place for us to be as a local authority.

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“Yet again we’ll be carrying the smelly end of the stick with our residents when this is enforced.”

Liberal Democrat councillor and eco transport campaigner Jane Ann Liston said: “It’s a bit disappointing if it’s not going to be properly supported and the local authority can choose to implement it if they like.”

SNP councillor John Beare, meanwhile, conceded that there was “some way to go” in implementing the new rules.

Derek Crowe, the council’s senior transport manager, added: “The service is going to get huge demand for this. We’ll have a look at what service we can provide with our existing budget and what level of service Fife may want in terms of enforcement.

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“We have a lot of work to do on this particular approach but there is no doubt this is going to become a hot topic.”

Transport Scotland did not directly respond to questions from the Local Democracy Reporting Service on how councils will be expected to enforce the ban with existing resources.

A spokeswoman said: “We are committed to improving road safety, keeping traffic moving and encouraging active, sustainable and accessible walking and wheeling in our communities.

“The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 has been approved by Parliament and we are currently working on the necessary legislation which will allow this to be enforced by all local authorities.”