The Greens have no plans to tackle pavement parking in Bristol despite calling for a ban last year before they won the local election. Labour councillors said they were disappointed that no action will be taken on the “serious issue” affecting many parts of the city.

Some drivers in Bristol frequently park on pavements, which in a lot of streets are already very narrow, forcing people to walk in the road. While frustrating for many pedestrians, this issue particularly affects vulnerable people with buggies or wheelchairs, putting them in danger.

Last summer 1,500 people signed a petition launched by the Green Party, urging Bristol City Council to ban pavement parking. In May, the Greens took control of the council, but have now admitted that they have “no formal plans for pavement parking prohibitions on a city-wide scale”.

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During a member forum meeting on Tuesday, July 9, Labour Councillor Tim Rippington said: “It’s disappointing that no action is planned. It’s a complicated situation both legally and in practice.

“However, when talking about the Green Party’s petition, Cllr [David] Wilcox did say ‘we want to put traffic regulation law into the city to say you cannot park on the pavements’. So I wonder if the Green Party now accepts the position is more complicated than it was made out to be?”

Pavement parking is banned in London, Edinburgh and the city centre in Sheffield. But in Bristol, City Hall bosses say a blanket ban would “reduce available parking capacity considerably and would cause significant difficulties”, in a written answer to a member forum question.

There could be scope for introducing bans in certain parts of Bristol, and this would be done through the nine area committees, using money raised from the Clean Air Zone. Green Cllr Tony Dyer, leader of the council, said councillors now needed to “assess things we have said before”. He also criticised Labour councillors for recently voting against cuts to support for disabled children.

A van parked on the pavement in Bedminster (Image: Alex Seabrook)

He said: “There are many things that we have to address as a council that are more complicated than they have been made out to be, and I suspect that will also apply elsewhere. All of us, as we are now all decision-makers within this council, will have to assess things that we have said before, and things that we have said since.

“We have already seen a u-turn where Labour councillors, having voted for a budget change, have now changed their minds and voted against the budget change. I hope there will be a wider acceptance of the fact that we need to have more open and honest discussion about the issues that are facing this city. We shouldn’t simply resort to party lines.”

Outside of London, pavement parking isn’t illegal in England. While the Highway Code suggests not parking on the pavement, this isn’t enforceable — unless specific traffic regulation orders are put in place, meaning drivers could receive a fine. Scotland recently changed the law to make pavement parking illegal, and gave councils the power to issue fines.

The problem has become so bad in Bristol that Avon Fire and Rescue Service has had to buy smaller fire engines and make a plea to drivers to park more considerately. Some residents of BS3 previously said they were considering moving house and leaving the area due to the issue.