Consultation on Enforcement Regulations for Local Authorities – Comments from LSEG

Scotland’s Pavement Parking Prohibitions; Consultation on Enforcement Regulations for Local Authorities. Comments by the Living Streets Edinburgh Group

General Comments

We are disappointed that this consultation document focuses almost entirely on administrative processes rather than seeking views more widely on how to make the prohibitions on irresponsible parking as effective as possible.

We are content with the proposals as set out in the 13 specific questions in the consultation. However, more importantly, we would like to make a small number of points which need to be taken account of int he Regulations and/or guidance which will accompany them.

We seek assurance that the intended date of implementation already announced by Scottish Ministers (1st December 2023) will be adhered to. We are extremely disappointed at the slow progress in implementing these parking prohibitions and any further delay cannot be justified.

Exceptions  for Royal Mail, commercial loading, etc.

Certain types of vehicle and certain types of activity are excepted from the irresponsible parking provisions by way of Section 55 of the Act, for example ‘loading for commercial purposes’. However, these exceptions are qualified in a number of respects: notably that such excepted activity is only permitted where parking on the pavement could not reasonably be done on the carriageway; that the parked vehicle leaves a minimum of 1.5 metres of clear footway and; that ‘loading’ is limited to a maximum duration of 20 minutes.

It is essential that these factors are recorded so that excepted vehicles and activities comply with these requirements.

Appeals

The appeals process must not permit any ‘loopholes’ to be exploited (without hindering, of course, legitimate appeals). In this regard, we therefore seek more clarity on how contraventions are recorded (as per Question 1). It is important that sufficient evidence is obtained to demonstrate why a PCN was issued to ensure that illegitimate appeals cannot succeed. An example of this may include recording the start and finish times of observed pavement parking so as to ensure that the 20 minute loading clause noted above is not exceeded. Photographic evidence may also have an important part to play.

Grace Periods

We believe that no grace periods (allowing a short delay before enforcement) should not apply to irresponsible parking on pavements or at dropped kerbs: an observed offence should be ticketed immediately. They may be acceptable for double parking under some circumstances.

Camera Enforcement

The Act permit ‘approved devices’ (presumably cameras) to be used to detect contravention of parking regulations. We are surprised to see no mention of this in the consultation document.

LSEG supports the use of cameras to assist with enforcement of the responsible parking provisions. Parking attendants will not be able to enforce  the provisions everywhere. Cameras could be an important tool, especially in suburban areas where there are persistent infringements which cause significant problems but which are difficult to address in person.

Regulations should therefore specify what devices are approved so that they can be used in enforcement activity from the outset in December 2023.

Living Streets Edinburgh Group

June 2023

Living Streets Edinburgh Group response to draft Council plans, May 2023

The City of Edinburgh Council has issued a number of important draft plans related to its overall ‘City Mobility Plan’.  You can read our comments here on the plans for Active Travel, Road Safety and Parking.

You can see the Council’s draft plans, and how to comment on them here: https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/cmp/ The deadline for responses is 9 July 2023: please have your say! We also welcome your feedback on our comments. 

Edinburgh Accessible Streets Initiative (EASI): Proposal from Living Streets Edinburgh Group

Council officials have estimated that there are 17,000 inadequate or missing dropped kerbs in the capital. This makes pedestrian movement for many people difficult or impossible and is at odds with the ‘Equal Pavements Pledge’ signed by the Council in 2021 https://www.transportforall.org.uk/campaign/equal-pavements-pledge/. Step-free pedestrian surfaces have a crucial role in not only making a city inclusive for disabled people, but one which makes walking and wheeling easier and more attractive for everyone else too.

The ‘dropped kerb programme’ has been designated as a ‘high priority’ action in council plans since at least 2010, when the first Active Travel Action Plan was produced. However it is only in the last year that systematic progress has been realised on the ground, and it currently has the capacity to deliver no more than 20 – 30 new dropped kerbs each year. (It is recognised that in addition, an increasing number of missing dropped kerbs are also being installed through routine maintenance and major capital schemes.)

However, Council action to improve pavement accessibility is not at present of sufficient scale to make the improvements needed, faced with the city’s historic legacy of inaccessible footways. The recent experience of installing dropped kerbs has also highlighted the need in many places to not only ‘drop’ the kerb at side roads, yards, vennels and such like but to make other improvements. In many cases, especially where the side road carries little traffic, a continuous footway is a better solution than a dropped kerb and these have begun to be installed in Edinburgh (for example Lauriston Place). Many side road junctions would benefit not only from step-free kerbs, but also ‘tightening’ the splay, to reduce the distance which pedestrians have to cross, and to slow down turning traffic. This also helps other high priority road users such as cyclists.

The current programme budgets are not sufficient to fund interventions like continuous footways and improvements to junction geometry at scale. It is therefore proposed to develop a much more ambitious programme to elevate the current ‘dropped kerb programme’ efforts to a major initiative to improve pedestrian accessibility. The Mobility and Access Committee Scotland (MACS) has advocated such initiatives through its guidance ‘Small Changes Can make a Big Difference’ bit.ly/3zrT4AG.

The new programme could set a number of strategic goals, along the lines of to ensure that…

• within x years, all Retail High Streets and High Density Residential Streets (as defined in ESDG) are step-free;
• within y years, all (major) bus routes are step-free;
• designated ‘town centres’ will be step-free as part of 20 minute neighbourhoods.

The programme would need to operate at multiple levels, co-ordinating activity from different sections of the Council. It would include ensuring step free pedestrian space is included as part of major projects (like CCWEL), but also that small scale (and cheaper) improvements continue to be delivered as part of capital maintenance programmes and on demand, in addition to the more strategic goals such as those suggested above. Ensuring that developers pay for improvements where appropriate would be another important element, which would require significant change from the Planning department.

Monitoring will be another important aspect of the programme, so that accurate information is maintained on how many kerbs have been improved, and what still needs to be done. Comprehensive online maps should show step-free pedestrian routes. The programme could also be further extended to engage with the public for example through joining ’Project Sidewalk’ which enables citizens to comment on and evaluate accessibility through direct lived experience (see for example, Amsterdam: https://sidewalk-amsterdam.cs.washington.edu/ )

Implementation on a programme like EASI will almost certainly require external funding – for example from Sustrans, or directly from the Scottish Government either through direct Active Travel grants or associated with the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2). With a sufficiently high budget and scope, this programme could not only make a tangible impact on improving the experience for disabled – and indeed all – pedestrians in Edinburgh, but also act as an exemplar to raise the bar in our expectations for walking and wheeling across Scotland.

David Hunter
Living Streets Edinburgh Group

November 2022