A 'DESKTOP' study is being carried out of streets in Fife where cars are parking on the pavement ahead of a ban coming in next year.

Council officers will then make site visits before deciding which areas could be exempt from the impending laws. 

Huge question marks still remain over what the new pavement parking ban will mean for the local authority in terms of finances and enforcement, and what it will mean for Fifers on a day-to-day basis. 

Councillor Altany Craik said: “We’re trying to change people’s behaviour and we need to be conscious that pavements are for people.

“We need the carrot and stick and it’s going to take quite a while to get this right because some of the places in Fife weren’t designed to have this many cars.

“As car ownership and car behaviour changes, we need to make sure the unintended consequences don’t sink us.

“I don’t think people necessarily think they can park where they like – they often do it out of thoughtless or necessity.”

The legislation will introduce a ban on vehicles parking on all footways, a ban on double parking (defined as where a vehicle is parked more than 500mm away from a kerb) and a ban on parking across dropped kerb pedestrian crossing points, although there will be exemptions.

Councillors on the economy, tourism, strategic planning and transportation sub committee were told that while Transport Scotland has provided Fife with a £106,000 grant to cover the assessment process, the longer-term resource implications will not be known until more details are made available by the Scottish Government.

Planning for the new laws, as much as can be done at the moment, continues with council officers confirming a ban will be the “default” position – with any exemptions requiring a good reason behind them.

That could include where a vehicle can be parked partly or wholly on the footway such that a minimum width of 1.5 metres of clear footway can be retained for pedestrian use. 

Exemptions will also be applied if it is not possible for emergency services to access a street because vehicles are parked on the road.

Assessments will be carried out and a list of recommendations will be drawn up for further consultation later this year.

In the meantime, the council will limit the use of so-called ‘H Bar’ markings to ensure they can be used as an effective weapon against pavement parking.

Martin Kingham, roads network management service manager, admitted the effectiveness of the markings had been reduced because they had been overused, and drawn at many private driveways that are already obvious to drivers seeking to park. 

With that in mind, the council will restrict their use to only where they are needed to maximise compliance, while markings that have been “inappropriately applied” will not be replaced when they fade or are worn out.

“We had been a bit fast and loose with these, but we really need to be more focused in their use so they stand out a bit more,” he concluded.