Living Streets failures

Living Streets is an organisation with charitable status which receives most of its funding from the DfT, and other national and local government bodies.

Concerns about Living Streets include
  • most of its funding comes from the DfT and similar bodies, so it cannot speak up about these without a conflict of interest
  • this conflict of interest is not made clear on its website or in its communications
  • it appears out of touch with grass roots campaigning
  • it lacks a robust campaiging style, e.g. its reaction to government policy announcements is generally very positive whereas pedestrians have been suffering from neglect for decades
  • it campaign on pavememnt parking is inept and dangerous, and possibly deliberately deceitful.

From 1929, there was a national independent Pedestrians Association, but this was somehow converted into Living Streets in 2001. It's time the UK once again had a strong independent voice to represent and campaign for pedestrians.

Pavement parking failures

Living Streets is not telling the truth on pavment parking - instead it is repeating DfT misinformation that pavement parking is legal in England outside London. It's a betrayal of pedestrians and decades of grass roots pedestrian campaigning.

Living Streets has a campaign "to ban pavement parking", organising letter-writing to MPs and petitions, but this is an inept and dangerous campaign because
  • pavement parking is already illegal
  • the implication that pavement parking is currently legal worsens the problem and increases the risks to pedestrians.

Pavement parking is already illegal
It is an offence to drive on to a pavement and it is an offence to obstruct other road users including pedestrians. These offences make pavement parking illegal. See the summary of the law here.
There is nothing secret or archaic about these offences, for example, they are included in a summary of the law from Merseyside Police and many police forces are issuing tickets for parking on pavements, for example Cheshire, Hertfordshire, Manchester, Merseyside and West Midlands police - see

The House of Commons Transport Committee report of 2019 pointed out that "Driving onto the pavement is illegal and, in almost all cases, vehicles parked on the pavement will have been driven onto the pavement in breach of this law", and recommended a national awareness campaign. But bizarrely, Living Streets has ignored this.

It is very peculiar that police forces have education and enforcement campaigns, but Living Streets does not include information about these on its website, or in its campaign emails, or in its press releases or in its Tweets - and this has continued even after requests from grass roots campaigning groups. It looks as if there is deliberate misinformation.

Implying that pavement parking is currently legal increases the risks to pedestrians
  • The repeated high-profile calls "to ban pavement parking" imply that pavement parking is currently legal. This publicity is likely to worsen pavement parking since the worst drivers will see no reason to hold back from parking on pavements even more than they are doing already. At least two children have been killed when delivery vehicles were driven on to pavements to park. The actions of Living Streets are likely to lead to more child deaths.
  • The failure to publicise the education and enforcement actions that are being carried out by police forces denies the currently available legal remedies to people who are suffering and whose lives are in danger. They should be told that they can complain to the police, and expect action - not that nothing can be done without a change in the law.

What alternative campaign is needed
Instead of the Living Streets campaign, pedestrians need
  • a national campaign that "Pavement parking is illegal, antisocial and dangerous"
  • proper funding for the police to enforce the current bans on driving on pavements and on obstructing pedestrians
  • a return to the 2004 Highway Code wording of "DO NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement unless signs permit it" to end the confusion caused by the current (2007) version

A change in the law so that local authorities can also enforce the current ban on pavement parking could be helpful (this would be the same as the law in London), but many local authorities have a poor record on protecting pedestrians (e.g. slow implementation of 20mph speed limits), and the current police non-enforcement on pavement parking might well be replaced by council non-enforcement. The main priority is to emphasise that pavement parking is currently illegal.