Parking on grass verges is a persistent problem as it can reduce the verge to an unsightly state, and can also obstruct the highway preventing pedestrians and wheel chair users from accessing roads and footways if there is no other pathway. Verge parking can also cause a hazard to other motorists especially if the vehicle is parked on a bend, narrow road or junction and could prevent emergency vehicles from attending an incident.
As car ownership has increased so has the problem of parking on grass verges. Priority is given to dealing with verge parking near to junctions where sightlines are being obstructed, or where the damage caused could be a hazard. Parking on grass verges not only damages the grass it may damage cables and pipes beneath the surface.
What we can do
It's not an offence to park a motor vehicle, with the exception of a HGV, on a grass verge unless it causes an obstruction or a Traffic Regulation Order or byelaw is in force prohibiting it.
Traffic regulation orders - Traffic Regulation Orders prohibit, rather than prevent, parking on verges. The time and cost involved in implementing Traffic Regulation Orders, including the additional cost of signs and/or road markings to make the order enforceable, can be significant and will depend on the specific site details.
Install bollards or posts - Installing bollards or posts to physically prevent parking on verges will only work if they are respected. To be effective many bollards may need to be erected to fully enclose the area of concern and as such visual impact is high as are installation and maintenance costs. Solutions involving bollards and posts will normally only be considered where widespread and persistent problems are evident.
Convert the grass to a hard surface - It is practical in some cases to convert the grass verge to a hardstanding surface such as tarmac, concrete or grasscrete blocks and allow parking in the area. This option must be balanced against the increased risk of flooding due to surface water run-off, the high costs of installation, potential road safety concerns and the visual impact on the street scene.
When deciding on the importance of establishing grass verge parking prevention, the following criteria will be considered:
- If there is adequate alternative parking available nearby, there must not be a worse problem caused by the displaced parking
- Roads which are bus routes or busy roads will be given higher priority
- The actual cost of the proposed solution
- The level of risk to highway users