Skip to content

Is it illegal to park on the pavement if your car has broken down? .

Recently, there have been petitions to ban pavement parking due to the danger that it can cause to pedestrians. UK citizens have been urging the Government to enforce strict measures against illegal parking.  

After a petition has reached 10,000 signatures, the Government are obliged to respond. On this occasion, a representative from the Department of Transportation remarked ‘’This highly important issue is complex and involves many conflicting factors.’’ 

‘’The government needs to get this right and is carefully considering the issues before deciding the way forward.’’  

In light of the Government’s response to the recent petitions to ban pavement parking, we have created this blog to advise best practice if parking on the pavement is necessary. [8] 

Changes to the Parking Law in Scotland

Starting from December 11 2023, drivers in Scotland could be fined £100 for parking on pavements, as part of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 [9]. This law, which also addresses double parking and parking at dropped kerbs, aims to enhance safety for pavement users. There are certain exemptions designated by Scottish councils and fines can be reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days. The legislation aims to protect vulnerable groups like those with mobility issues, visual impairments, and parents with prams. A campaign was launched in November 2023 to raise awareness about the dangers of pavement parking. Living Streets Scotland has urged proper implementation and enforcement of the ban, emphasising its importance for pedestrian safety.

Is it illegal to park on the pavement in the rest of the UK?  

Generally speaking, it is illegal to park on the pavement in London unless signs or markings indicate that it is specifically allowed. This also applies to anywhere else unless signs permit it. This is covered by the Highway Code, which states:  

“You MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.” 

While the Highway Code states categorically that drivers ‘MUST NOT’ park on the pavement in London. However, in other parts of the country, the law says drivers ‘SHOULD NOT’ park on the pavement, unless doing so is specifically signposted. 

This means that legally, outside the capital, you have the right to park on the pavement if doing so doesn’t break any other driving laws. 

What about parking on the pavement during a breakdown?  

The rules for what can happen during a breakdown require a little more consideration. The laws and regulations in certain councils also tend to differ depending on where you are.   

For example, Brighton and Hove Council states you should:  

“Please arrange for the broken-down vehicle to be removed as soon as possible. A penalty charge notice may be issued for each day that the vehicle is left in contravention of the parking regulations.  

The vehicle should be removed within a reasonable amount of time. Vehicles left over a number of days may not be successful in their appeal, this also applies to vehicles broken down in a paid parking bay without a valid pay and display ticket on display or a valid PayByPhone parking session.” [1]

If you find yourself in a situation whereby you have broken down on the pavement and are concerned about whether or not you will face a fine, it is worth calling the local council to find out. As we’ve seen, you may face a parking fine that you may need to try and appeal for.  

Here’s another example using Southwark Council. On their website, they state: 

“When driving, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy. However, there may be occasions when your vehicle breaks down. If this happens and you can still move the vehicle, ensure that it’s not on double yellow line waiting restrictions and do not put the vehicle on the pavement (footway) or in a disabled bay.  

As a driver, it’s your responsibility to have your vehicle recovered as soon as is reasonably possible. The council considers this in most circumstances to be a period of 24 hours after the breakdown initially occurs. 

If a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) or parking ticket is issued when your vehicle is broken down, the council may accept this as a reason to cancel the notice. The driver will be expected to provide a copy of a receipt or call-out document from a recovery company detailing the reason for the recovery and establishing that the vehicle was broken down.  

The registered keeper can challenge the PCN either through our online PCN appeals portal, by emailing or you can phone our call centre on 0344 800 2736 for further advice. If your vehicle has simply run out of fuel, this may not be accepted as a reason to cancel the PCN, as this is entirely predictable”. [3] 

Drivers are, encouraged to move their vehicle off the road and onto the pavement, if it’s safe to do so, to ensure the safety of other road users and pedestrians. Just remember to put your hazard lights on to give a heads up to others. 

You should also try to: 

  • Leave enough space for pedestrians: Leave enough room for pedestrians, prams, pushchairs and wheelchair users to comfortably walk past without having to step onto the road. 
  • Contact a breakdown service: Call for roadside assistance or a breakdown service as soon as possible. 
  • Leave a note: If you need to leave your vehicle, leave a note with your contact details on the dashboard explaining the situation. 

Brighton and Hove Council lead by saying that it is important that your vehicle is removed as soon as possible, therefore we would highly recommend anyone who doesn’t have breakdown cover to consider getting it to avoid any additional costs. 

Southwark Council make clear that it is up to the vehicle owner to ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy. This is where having a comprehensive car warranty comes in extremely handy. 

Warrantywise provide extended car warranties that help protect against unexpected failures, which can include breakdown, and when this is the case there is the added benefit of breakdown recovery and car hire [2]. In the unfortunate event of a breakdown, we handle the hassle, allowing you to prioritise your safety and navigate any parking concerns. It’s definitely worth getting a car warranty quote to find out how Warrantywise can help you.

Close up front of new beige car parking on the paving stone street. Sunny summer day. Transport concept

So in a nutshell, to avoid any additional costs in the event of a breakdown, please keep in mind that specific local regulations and enforcement may vary. It’s always a good idea to consult local authorities or check for any specific rules that apply in your area. 

But what if you haven’t experienced a breakdown and would like to know the laws around parking on the pavement in general? We wanted to clear up some of the rules in the Highway Code to be sure you don’t experience a hefty fine.  

Pavement parking UK: Is there a pavement parking ban?  

There seems to be some confusion about whether parking on the footpath is allowed or not, so we’re here to put the record straight. Following rule 244 of the Highway Code, ‘You must not stop or park partially or wholly on the pavement in London and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it’. So, what does this mean? It’s important to highlight the difference between ‘must not’ and ‘should not’.  

The legislation clearly states that in London it is illegal to park on the pavement, however, outside of London can be considered a slightly grey area. In the highway code, the phrase ‘should not’ suggests that it is advised against doing something, but that doing so, is not necessarily illegal.  

You are still at risk of receiving a fine for parking partially or wholly on the pavement outside of London as the choice is up to individual councils, so we recommend you avoid parking on the pavement everywhere in the UK. This is not only to avoid potential fines, but also parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians; especially people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs, making pavement parking unsafe and inconvenient for many people.  

Rule 242 is where the parking rules can get a little less clear. The rule suggests that ‘You must not leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road’.  

This is a ‘must not’ statement, meaning that if your car is reported or seen by a police officer and judged to be either in a dangerous position or causing an unnecessary obstruction of the road, you could receive a Fixed Penalty Notice.  

Therefore, if you park on the pavement and a police officer decides your parking is unsafe, you might have to deal with a fine and an unhappy officer. As such, we recommend that it’s best always to avoid parking your vehicle on pavements. 

When may you drive over a pavement?  

Another frequently asked question wonders when it is okay to drive on the pavement in the UK. According to section 72 of the Highways Act (1835), it is an offence to drive onto the pavement, even if you aren’t intending to park.  

The only exceptions are to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency. By doing this, it could endanger pedestrians, particularly young children and people with disabilities – so you should never drive onto the pavement unless you have to. If you believe someone is doing this wrongly, you can report them to your local council.  

Parking on pavement law: Is it illegal to park on a grass verge? 

As with most parking rules, the answer is not as simple as it may seem. At present in the United Kingdom, if there are no waiting restrictions on the road, parking on a grass verge is not illegal. However, a driver may be open to prosecution if their vehicle is causing damage to a verge, parked dangerously or causing an obstruction.  

As rules aren’t strictly enforced, most areas in the UK rely on people’s common sense to know whether or not they should park there. They also rely on people to be respectful of their neighbours.  

Some councils have restricted parking on grass verges, but it does vary from place to place. If you consistently park on the same grass verge and cause damage to it, this can result in prosecution too.  

So, it is probably a safe bet to avoid parking on grass verges unless you own the verge, to avoid fines and causing trouble for pedestrians, neighbours and cyclists.  

Can you park on pavements in residential areas?  

Rows of cars parked on the roadside in residential district

Alongside the confusion about pavement parking, some people ask if this changes things for parking in residential areas. Whilst this can be confusing, in simple terms, the same rules apply for parking in any location, meaning that in London it is illegal and out of London it is not advised. This means that you can not park on the pavement in any area in London – including residential areas and parking on the pavement outside your house as this belongs to the highway and is not part of your property.  

However, outside of London, it is not illegal to, but councils have the power to enforce rules against it. It is best to avoid the chance of getting a fine and endangering other people so we advise you to stay clear of pavement parking in residential areas of both London and the rest of the UK.  

What about dropped kerbs? 

As it is easier to get a vehicle onto the pavement when the kerb is dropped, many people might think that parking here is okay. The reason for dropped kerbs is either so that 1. motor users can access their driveways more easily from the road. Or, secondly, dropped kerbs are often placed to assist wheelchair users, and people with pushchairs and to be generally inclusive of vulnerable or less able-bodied people.  

So, if you are considering parking on a dropped kerb, it is best to consider the moral factors associated with blocking someone’s driveway or an accessible walkway. Additionally, blocking someone’s driveway can sometimes be illegal, if the vehicle is also blocking the road.  

Transport Scotland states:

Part 6 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 introduced the statutory framework for a national ban on pavement parking, double parking and parking at dropped kerbs to make it easier for local authorities to ensure our pavements and roads are safer and more accessible to all.’’ [5]

In addition to this, the Carleon Labour Party in Wales says:

‘’It is not acceptable for people to park fully blocking the pavement so that pedestrians, people with baby buggies, people on disability scooters and people in wheelchairs cannot pass and are forced onto the road. It is also not acceptable that people park across dropped kerbs, making it impossible for people on disability scooters or in wheelchairs to pass.’’ [6]

What can you do if there is a car blocking/parking on the pavement?  

Parking on pavements or parking on a footpath can cause serious disruptions to businesses, homeowners and pedestrians, meaning that local councils need to remain vigilant and on hand to help prevent disruptive and unsafe parking. Parking on pavements can affect accessibility for people with disabilities and young children passing by, becoming an unsafe obstruction for many pedestrians.  

Following guidelines issued by the UK Government, councils have been told to use their powers to prevent parking on the pavement where it is a problem. This could mean local authorities begin to use physical measures such as high kerbs or bollards to prevent vehicles from blocking the footway in situations where footway parking is a common problem or putting up parking restriction signs to clearly show motorists that they can’t park there.  

However, you might be asking, what can I do about this if I see someone blocking the pavement with their vehicle? Many of you have asked who is best to contact when you spot a car blocking the pavement or what to do if your neighbour is parking on the pavement. To start, we would recommend contacting your local council and informing them about the situation. To report another car for parking on the pavement, you can contact your local authority who will deal with the issue. If someone is obstructing the road, the police could be called to solve the issue.  

What is the parking on pavement fine in the UK? 

Although the cost of the fine can vary, individual councils can make Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) to enforce local pavement parking bans in both England and Wales. This means that local councils have a choice if they wish to impose fines on drivers for parking on pavements, providing they employ signs pointing out any restrictions.  

For example, West Yorkshire Police say:

“In England and Wales, local councils can make a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) prohibiting parking on the pavement. If this is the case, there should be signs/markings that clearly show where pavement parking is specifically prohibited. Once parking on the pavement is prohibited on a particular road/street/area, council Civil Enforcement Officers are then able to enforce the restriction by issuing a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). However, there are potentially a number of issues in using a TRO: 

  • A TRO may solve pavement parking problems in one area but make them far worse in nearby areas. 
  • With public consultation requirements, it can take up to approximately 2 years. 
  • Many council Civil Enforcement Officers only work during the day – this can cause issues in relation to enforcement action if vehicles are parked on the pavement in the evening/night.” [4]

If you have recently been given a parking fine and need guidance on how to pay it there are many online sources on ‘how to pay a parking fine’. [7] 

However, seemingly few councils do this, and even fewer enforce them. Often, these go hand in hand with other parking restrictions, including yellow and red lines, and Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ) which often restrict parking to permit holders.  

We recommend you avoid parking on the pavement regardless of the chance that you will receive a fine, out of courtesy to pedestrians and especially disabled and vulnerable people. 


[1] Brighton and Hove City Council, Brighton and Hove City Council Website, Accessed 16th October 2023, <,a%20reasonable%20amount%20of%20time >    

[2] Subject to the terms and conditions of your plan 

[3] Southwark Council, Southwark Council Website, Accessed 16th October 2023, <>  

[4] West Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Police Website, Accessed 24th October 2023 

[5] Transport Scotland, Transport Scotland’s Website, Accessed 24th October 2023 Parking and the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 | Transport Scotland   

[6] Carleon Labour Party (Wales), Carleon Labour Party Website, Accessed 24th October 2023  

[7] Government website, How to Pay a Parking Fine, Accessed 31st October 2023  

[9] Pavement parking ban Scotland Accessed 11th December 2023

Warrantywise and Warrantywise Logo are trademarks of Warrantywise. The website "" and contents herein are for information purposes only. This does not form part of any contract of protection. Any and all Warranty Plan confirmation including Warranty Plan Documents and Application Forms will be issued upon purchase. It is important that you read our information supplied and then make your own choice of warranty cover together with any plan additions that you may need as a vehicle owner who demands to ensure that your vehicle warranty requirements are met now and in the foreseeable future. Terms and Conditions apply and are provided by Warrantywise available to download here or upon request by calling 0800 169 7880. Warrantywise Limited (No. 07963594 ) and Warrantywise UK Limited (No. 14775172) both trading as Warrantywise are companies registered in England and Wales at The Rocket Centre, 3 Trident Way, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 3NU and both are part of Wise Group Holdings Limited, Company No. 10613336. Warrantywise Limited (VAT registration number 264 8618 71) and Warrantywise UK Limited (VAT registration number 437 8119 76) are VAT registered companies. All prices and monetary figures are quoted include VAT at the current rate.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
*Please refer to specific plan terms and conditions.