AN OAKLEY guide dog owner has hit out at the problem of pavement parking in her village.

Debbie Clark says selfish drivers force her golden retriever Cherry to take her onto the road into traffic just to get past.

The Oakley woman has been backed by Douglas Chapman MP, who believes the problem is prevalent across his West Fife constituency.

He has been highlighting a new campaign by Guide Dogs Scotland that aims to make pavement parking an offence.

Debbie, of Wardlaw Crescent, who has been blind since birth, said: "Guide Dogs Scotland have been campaigning about this for years, but many people don't listen.

"I can come out from the shops and a car or big lorry can be parked and I have to walk out on the road.

"That's not ideal because it's unsafe for people who can't see.

"The more people who get to know about this campaign will help raise awareness that bad parking has consequences."

Mr Chapman said: "No one should be forced to brave traffic because of cars parked on the pavement.

"So I welcome plans for a law to end problem pavement parking in Scotland.

"It can turn a walk to work or trip to the shops into a dangerous obstacle course, as Debbie well knows.

"It's a nuisance for anyone, but if you have a visual impairment or a toddler in tow, stepping out into the road with moving traffic is just too big a risk."

Guide Dogs is campaigning to make pavement parking an offence, except in areas where local authorities grant specific exemptions.

This is already the case in London, but outside the capital, councils struggle to tackle unsafe pavement parking because they can only restrict it street by street.

Research by YouGov shows that 54 per cent of UK drivers admit to parking on the pavement, but only half of these drivers think about their impact on people with visual impairments, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people.

Niall Foley, engagement manager at Guide Dogs Scotland, said: "Our research shows that most drivers who park on the pavement know that it can be dangerous for pedestrians, but many do so regardless.

"That's why we need clear rules so that drivers only park where it's safe.

"We know that the Scottish Government is committed to a law to curb unsafe pavement parking.

"We welcome the consultation on this issue and look forward to them bringing forward a bill in the near future."