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Pavement parking ban is 'a good thing' but should be enforced 'sensitively and sensibly'

By Gordon Calder

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THE ban on pavement parking, which comes into effect in the Highlands in February, is "a good thing" but should be enforced "sensitively and sensibly."

That is the view of roads campaigner, Iain Gregory, who is a former senior police officer. A similar stance was taken by Thurso and Northwest Caithness Highland councillors, Ron Gunn and Matthew Reiss.

Mr Gregory, the co-founder of Caithness Roads Recovery, said: "I do think it is a good thing. Pavements are designed for pedestrians, people pushing prams, those in wheelchairs as well as those with reduced vision and need to be kept clear."

Iain Gregory says the pavement parking ban is "a good thing"
Iain Gregory says the pavement parking ban is "a good thing"

He backed the ban on parking at dropped kerbs and said that is "an excellent idea." On the possible £100 fine for offenders, he said: "That penalty is in line with the normal penalties for this kind of infringement."

However, Mr Gregory hopes the enforcement of the policy will be carried out "sensitively and sensibly."

Councillor Reiss, also a retired police officer, said the ban on parking on pavements "can only be good news" and would be welcomed, especially by people with a disability.

Matthew Reiss thinks the ban will be accepted given time
Matthew Reiss thinks the ban will be accepted given time

He thought the majority of people in Caithness would not park on the pavement and said the ban would be accepted given time. Councillor Reiss hopes the policy will be enforced with a degree of common sense and felt the fines should be imposed where the parking is inexcusable. "That would be acceptable," he said.

Ron Gunn, who chairs the Caithness Committee, pointed out that a number of people had complained to him about vehicles parking on pavements and said it affected pedestrians, people with prams, buggies and wheelchairs as well as those with impaired vision.

"I think a lot of people will welcome this and don't see a problem with it. There are safety concerns about parking on pavements and I think the majority of people will accept it," he said.

Ron Gunn said he has had complaints about parking on pavements
Ron Gunn said he has had complaints about parking on pavements

Councillor Gunn added: "Like any change there needs to be education and a period of time for the public to get used to it. I think there should be a common sense approach to enforcement. The fine is there as a deterrent and seems to be a reasonable sum."

Highland Council has confirmed the policy will be enforced in its area from next month.

Warning notices have been issued to offenders since December. However, anyone found in breach of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 – which prohibited pavement parking, double parking, and parking at dropped kerbs and anyone caught – potentially faces a £100 fine.

Councillor Ken Gowans, the chairman of the council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, said: "Many people face daily difficulties with pavement parking. It is dangerous and frustrating, especially for those with impairments or limited mobility. It can force people to take unnecessary risks.

"For example, people using wheelchairs and buggies or prams without access to dropped kerbs can be forced onto the road, risking their safety."

He added: "Since December our parking enforcement team have been issuing warning notices to drivers caught breaking the law but during February 2024, they will be taking full enforcement action. Anyone parking on a pavement risks a fine of £100 or £50 if they pay it within 14 days.

"Details about the new regulations have been provided on the council’s website so I urge all drivers to make themselves familiar with the information. We hope everyone will consider others and there will be limited need for enforcement."

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