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Pavement parking offenders in Wales could soon face tougher penalties after councils were given extra enforcement powers to charge those breaking the rules. Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters revealed the new civil enforcement penalties could be put into action by 2022.
He stressed the new rules would not look to penalise drivers who are given no option but to park on the road.
Instead, local councils can make judgments of where they can clampdown in targeted hotspots such as schools and areas which have suffered previous issues.
The policy will be implemented after all 10 recommendations from the Welsh pavement parking taskforce report were approved.
Mr Waters revealed that the Welsh Government were “further ahead” than England who has just launched a consultation on what could be done to strengthen the law.
Speaking in the Senedd, Mr Waters said: “We want more people to walk for short journeys and yet we tolerate an environment that is often not pedestrian-friendly—too many routes are cluttered or blocked.
“A recent survey found that 83 percent of people in Wales view it as a common, large or very large problem.
“The current law on parking on pavements is not as clear or as helpful as it could be. There is no specific offence of parking on pavements.
“The police can enforce the existing criminal law of causing unnecessary obstruction of any part of the highway, but this offence is rarely enforced.”
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The taskforce rejected an outright ban to pavement parking like Scotland which could take five years to implement.
But the report still concluded that pavement parking was a “serious problem” that the government should deal with as a “matter of some urgency”.
They revealed that pavement parking causes real harm to people and adds to the cost burden of local authorities.
Instead, the Taskforce has recommended that the issue should be tackled by changing driver behaviour through raising awareness.
This can also be achieved by “effective enforcement” of the issue in a bid to put drovers off in fear of being caught out.
The report says the Welsh Government should work with the Department for Transport (DfT) to amend the Highway Code to deal with the changes.
However, they say local authorities should also indicate any locations where pavement parking would still be permitted.
Mr Waters said: “We recognise that in some streets there are too many cars for the space available.
“We’ll be setting out in our new Wales transport strategy how we want to encourage modal shift to make it easier for people to rely less on cars for everyday journeys.
“But in the meantime, we don’t want to penalise people who have no alternative. By giving local authorities civil enforcement powers they can make judgments of where to clamp down.”
Mr Waters added the new measures in line with the new 20mph speed limit changes have “real potential” to save lives across communities.
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