Parking on the pavement: is it illegal?

Last updated October 05, 2021

Parking on the pavement isn’t illegal for most of the UK, with the main exception being in London where it is against the law. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t be penalised for how you park elsewhere in the country as we explain throughout our guide.

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What are the laws around parking on the pavement?

The Highway Code rule 244 was introduced in 1974 which states that drivers “MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London and should not do so elsewhere unless the signs permit it”. The fact that the rule states ‘must not’ rather than ‘should not’ means that there is legislation behind the rule and it can be enforced by law. This means you could get a fine or worse if you park on the pavement in London.

However, if you are based outside of the capital the rules don’t apply and it is up to local councils whether they make a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which states that drivers must not park on the pavement. Where this is the case, there must be signage/markings that make it abundantly clear that it is prohibited. Once the rules have been passed, Civil Enforcement Officers are allowed to enforce the new rules with Penalty Charge Notices (PCN).

How much is the fine for parking on the pavement?

The amount you will be fined will depend on whether it is the police or a local council who issue the penalty charge.

If you receive a Fixed Penalty Notice, which can be issued by the police, local council or DVSA, you could receive a fine upwards of £50. If your local council issues a PCN, these can range from £50 to £130. Sometimes you may be able to pay a percentage of the penalty notice if you pay within a certain timeframe, which is generally within 14 or 21 days.

Can you appeal a fine for parking on the pavement?

If you feel your fine is unfair, you can appeal both Penalty Charge Notices and Fixed Penalty Notices, however, the process to appeal both is different.

To appeal against a Penalty Charge Notice issued by the local council, you can usually do so online or by post. You will be able to find the details of how to appeal on the council’s website or on the yellow sticker that was left on your windscreen. It is worth considering that if you appeal the fine, you may lose the ability to reduce the cost of your fine and costs could potentially increase if you exceed the payment period.

To appeal against a Fixed Penalty Notice issued by a local council, the police or the DVSA, you will need to go to court to present your evidence. You should be aware that this could lead to high costs should you lose your case at court as you could be liable for court fees and damages.

What are the possible reasons you may appeal a fine?

There may be a case to appeal against a penalty for parking on a pavement in certain circumstances, which include:

  • Parking signs weren’t clear, were blocked or were not placed in a position where your vehicle was parked
  • You were parking on a narrow road where parking in the road would’ve obstructed traffic and/or emergency vehicles from passing
  • You moved off the road to avoid blocking traffic or to allow an emergency vehicle to pass
  • You fell ill while driving and needed to pull over immediately

Is the UK going to ban pavement parking nationwide?

Pavement parking has been up for debate across the UK for a while, with public campaigns and debates in parliament over the matter. Each country is currently at a different stage on banning pavement parking.

  • England

    Currently, it is only illegal to park on the pavement in London, but elsewhere in the UK, it is still allowed. The government recently discussed a strategy for tackling troublesome pavement parking, which resulted in them agreeing the first stage should be to allow councils to have the power to impose restrictions locally.

    There have also been suggestions that the government could make it easier for the councils to impose restrictions as it is currently a time-consuming process.

  • Scotland

    The Scottish government announced a ban on pavement parking in 2019, although it is likely still going to take a few more years to implement as it’s a nationwide law.

    The Parking and the Transport (Scotland) Bill was introduced to ensure that parking on a pavement and double parking would be made illegal, which aims to ensure pavements and roads are safer for all.

    Once the new Bill comes into force, all local councils will have the power to issue PCNs for anybody parking illegally. Some local councils could promote exemptions from the national ban, although these will only be issued in exceptional circumstances.

  • Wales

    The Welsh government aims to give local councils the power to implement their own parking rules from July 2022. However, they stated that they don’t want to punish people with penalties where there is no other choice than to park on the pavement, such as on narrow roads.

    By providing local councils with the power to introduce their own rules, they can target areas where pavement parking is a problem and use their discretion to issue penalties for those breaking the rules.

  • Northern Ireland

    There are no bans on parking on the pavement in Northern Ireland. The only time it is illegal to park on the pavement is on ‘urban clearways’ and wherever there are road markings/signage in place.