Parking on verges and footpaths
It is not an offence in law to park a vehicle, other than an HGV, on a grass verge. Unless it causes an obstruction or a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) or byelaw is in force prohibiting it.
Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 prohibits parking by HGV's. A HGV means any goods vehicle, over 7.5 tonnes.
In areas where a Special Parking Area (SPA) is in force, the offence can be enforced by the traffic authority.
It may be a criminal offence for causing an obstruction or damage and would be a matter for the police.
- Section 28 Town Police Clauses Act 1847 - wilfully causing an obstruction to any public footpath or public thoroughfare.
- Regulation 103 Road Vehicles - Regulations 1986 - vehicles causing unnecessary obstruction of the road (including verge).
- Section 22 Road Traffic Act 1988 - leaving vehicles in a dangerous position on the road (including verge).
- Section 137 Highways Act 1980 wilful obstruction of the free passage along a highway.
- Section 72 Highways Act 1835 - driving on any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers.
- Section 131(1)(c) Highways Act 1980 - deposits anything whatsoever on a highway so it would damage the highway
A byelaw was made by us in 1956. It makes it an offence to drive, place a vehicle or cause a vehicle to be driven or placed upon any road margin, to which the bylaw applied in such a manner as to injure or be likely to injure any turf or any tree, shrub or plant growing thereon.
The bylaw applies to any road margin, which was in or beside a public road and was laid or sown with grass or planted with trees and shrubs and maintained constantly in good order for ornamental purposes and has a sign on it indicating that the bylaw applies.
Whilst the bylaw is still in force, municipal boroughs were excluded and as the verges to which it applies must be maintained constantly for ornamental purposes and have a sign maintained on site, these factors will not apply in many cases.
Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs)
Where there is awaiting restriction, by virtue of a TRO with signs and lines in place to give lawful effect to the restrictions, these apply to any part of the width of a road.
Unless otherwise stated in the TRO, the restrictions shown by the kerbside lines and signs apply to the whole width of the road up to the boundary of the adjacent properties, so this would include the verge.
If parking on the verge is deemed acceptable, but needs to be restricted on the road, a TRO can be drafted to exclude the verge.
Where parking on verges is permitted by exemption to a TRO, this would not override:
- The bylaw where it is in force and the criteria that the verge be maintained constantly for ornamental purposes and have a sign maintained on site are both met;
- Powers retained by the police to deal with the criminal offences that may be committed under the various statutory provisions set out above. Notwithstanding the difficulties in discharging the evidential burden that an offence has been committed within the meaning of the relevant statutory prohibition.
The whole TRO process can take between 12 and 26 weeks and likely to cost £3,000 - £5,000.
Verge marker posts may be provided at the owner’s expense.