After over a decade of campaigning by groups like Living Streets Scotland, the Scottish Parliament passed a bill on Thursday 10 October that will outlaw pavement parking across the country.
The new law will come into play in 2021 as part of the Transport (Scotland) Bill, which also contains provisions for the creation of low emissions zones in four Scottish cities (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee) as well as promising improved bus services.
According to Living Streets, cars which are parked partially on the pavement can act as major obstacles for less mobile individuals, either forcing them into traffic or preventing them from travelling altogether.
The elderly, wheelchair-users and those suffering from other disabilities can all have their lives seriously impeded by this on a daily basis.
While there are already laws designed to cover this, they are unclear to the point of being almost impossible to enforce.
As well as ensuring that all pedestrians have equal use of the pavements, Living Streets has also argued that the bill could save local councils significant sums of money by preventing cars from causing damage to the pavements that must then be repaired.
However, the new legislation does contain a contentious clause that allows for delivery vehicles to park on the pavement for up to 20 minutes at a time.
In the view of organisations like Living Streets, this 20 minute window both undermines the purpose of the law and threatens to make it too difficult to enforce.
Living Streets are celebrating the new bill as a major victory and they have urged the rest of the UK to follow suit, although they do still have some qualms about its details.
Stuart Hay, director of lead campaign group Living Streets Scotland, said: “This is the first nationwide ban put in place in the UK and represents the culmination of over a decade of campaigning.
“People in wheelchairs, parents with pushchairs and older adults who are currently forced into oncoming traffic when faced with vehicles blocking their path will now be able to enjoy a new freedom.
“Practical plans and resources, including the proposed national publicity campaign, should now be put in place to ensure the bill is enacted efficiently. England and Wales should look to take a lead from today’s monumental decision.”