A BAN on pavement parking should be the "default position", ministers have been urged, amid calls for a change in the law.

Peers at Westminster heard there was already a general bar on the practice in London, with pressure for this to be extended across the rest of England.

The Government acknowledged car parking on pavements was "a problem" and pointed out the findings of a review were being currently being looked at.

Transport Minister Baroness Sugg said: "Within Greater London there is already a general ban on pavement parking.

"In the rest of England, local authorities can implement local bans using traffic regulation orders.

"In recent months the Department for Transport has carried out a review on pavement parking, gathering evidence on the effectiveness of current legislation and the case for reform.

"That review is now complete and we are considering its findings."

Labour peer Lord Lennie highlighted demands from campaigners, including the blind and wheelchair users, that "legislation should move to a default position as in London of no parking on pavements unless designated otherwise, rather than just a discouragement, which is currently the case".

Lady Sugg said: "I do agree that pavement parking is a problem.

"There are calls for the Government to introduce a law that bans pavement parking across England.

"The Roads Minister is keen to make the process as simple as possible, but before seeking new primary legislation we are evaluating the effectiveness of the current legislation and we want to understand the issues that are preventing councils from taking action already."

Labour peer Lord Berkeley pointed to the arcane language used in the 1835 Highways Act, which still remained in force and stated that "people shall not tether any horse, ass, mule, swine or cattle on any highway".

He said: "Isn't it about time that this legislation was updated?"

In Somerset, the county council only acts when specific parking restrictions apply.

A spokesman said: "We enforce on-street parking restrictions to improve road safety for all road users, to improve the flow of traffic, and to make sure emergency vehicles and public transport can travel without obstruction or delay.

"We are not able to take any action against parked vehicles which are causing an obstruction where no parking restriction applies. These vehicles can only be dealt with by the police, who should be contacted using their non-emergency phone number, 101.

"We can only serve Penalty Charge Notices to vehicles parked on pavements if there is a relevant parking restriction on the roadside adjacent to them.

"We enforce a number of parking restrictions, including:

  • Vehicles parked on yellow lines or where loading restrictions are in place
  • Vehicles parked without clearly displaying a valid, or the correct permit/voucher/ticket to allow them to do so
  • Vehicles parked for longer than the purchased time or for longer than permitted
  • Vehicles parked in a suspended bay
  • Vehicles parked in a bus stop
  • Vehicles parked outside of bay markings
  • Vehicles parked across a dropped kerb or driveway (at the homeowner’s request)

"Civil Enforcement Officers conduct daily patrols on most roads where parking restrictions apply. It is a driver’s responsibility to check their parking place for any restrictions and to ensure any ticket or permit is clearly and correctly displayed."

Somerset residents can report a badly parked vehicle by contacting NSL on 01823 210566 or email somersetparkingenquiries@nsl.co.uk.