The MP for South Leicestershire helped raise awareness of the dangers of pavement parking at Guide Dogs’ (Un)Fairground
Alberto Costa MP spoke with the charity Guide Dogs at the Conservative Party conference about the challenges pavement parked cars create for blind and partially sighted people, who may have to risk their safety by walking into the road just to get by.
A survey by Guide Dogs showed that 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions, and 90% of those had experienced trouble with a pavement parked car.
The MP for South Leicestershire heard of the difficulties that councils face in trying to tackle the issue with their current powers, and why Guide Dogs is calling for a clear national law on pavement parking.
To illustrate the problem, the charity asked Alberto Costa to clear the streets of pavement parked cars against the clock on a specially-themed whack-a-mole game.
Alberto Costa MP is supporting Guide Dogs’ campaign to make pavement parking an offence, except in areas where local authorities grant specific exemptions. This would give local authorities real power to properly tackle this problem and bring the rest of the country in line with the current law in Greater London, which has been in place since 1974.
Alberto said, “I am very pleased to support the Guide Dogs’ very notable campaign which would provide local authorities with greater enforcement powers for those parking on pavements. Parked cars can be particularly dangerous obstacles for blind or partially sighted people and so it is very important that the Government look into this legislation more closely. It is important to note that the Guide Dogs are not advocating a blanket ban on pavement parking, they, like I do, appreciate that parking on pavements is the only option for constituents living on terraced streets for instance, but it’s important that local authorities are given the discretion to implement parking restrictions where they see appropriate.
Mr James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented, “Cars blocking pavements are a nuisance for everyone, but can be a real danger for people for people with sight loss, potentially forcing them out into the roads to get by. Outside of London, the powers that councils and police have at the moment aren’t sufficient to tackle the problem, and that’s why we want a clear law where drivers cannot park on the pavement unless they’re in a specifically designated area.
Alberto is pictured alongside James from the Guide Dogs and retired guide dog, Sinclair.