Parking on pavements and verges

We often receive enquiries and reports about parking on grass verges and pavements. This page sets out the Council's legal position, how we respond to reports and any action we may take.

Parking on grass verges and pavements is a persistent problem in Surrey and can have a big impact on people with sight and mobility difficulties and for children in pushchairs. Further problems include reducing verges to an unsightly state, obstructing the highway and preventing pedestrians and wheelchair users from accessing roads and footways if there is no other pathway.

Also, pavements are only designed and constructed to take the weight of pedestrians, mobility scooters and wheel chairs, so the weight of a car or goods vehicle can cause damage.

Parking on verges or pavements can also cause a hazard to other motorists especially if the vehicle is parked on a bend, narrow road or junction. We do not promote or support parking on grass verges or pavements.

In common law under the Highways Act 1980, the public have the right to pass and repass over the full width of the highway (includes roads, pavements and verges). There is no legal right to park on a road, verge or footway.

Waiting restrictions (shown by yellow lines) apply to the entire width of the public highway from the centre of the road to the boundary on the same side of the road. Therefore parking on a verge or pavement adjacent to a carriageway where a waiting restriction applies could result in a driver being issued a parking ticket even if their vehicle is not encroaching onto any waiting restriction road markings.

Where no waiting restrictions are present on the road, parking on a grass verge or pavement is not illegal. However, a driver may be open to prosecution if their vehicle is persistently damaging a verge, parked dangerously or causing an obstruction.

Under national legislation, goods vehicles weighing 7.5 tonnes or over are prohibited from parking on grass verges, and Civil Enforcement Officers can issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to offending vehicles.

Enforcement

Where there are no waiting restrictions on the road, enforcement can only be carried out by Surrey Police, but they are only likely to take action if the parking is causing an obstruction, such as a situation where pedestrians, pram or wheelchair users are being forced into a busy road as a result of parking blocking the verge or pavement. Such cases should be reported to the police on the non-emergency phone number 101.

Parking on a pavement or verge next to a road where a waiting restriction applies could result in a driver being issued a parking ticket, just as if they were parked on the carriageway. Enforcement of parking restrictions is carried out on our behalf by the districts and boroughs.

What action Surrey County Council can take

When deciding what action to take, we must take several factors into account, such as costs, ongoing maintenance and whether the problem will just be diverted further down the road.

We have the authority to consider installing timber posts in verges. We will decide this on a case by case basis, depending on local factors such as funding and knowledge of the location. Verge protection measures can divert the parking problem onto another area. There is often little that can be done about this although care must be taken to ensure that any measures are fair.

Similarly, we may install concrete or steel bollards on pavements. However, costs and the wish to reduce clutter means they will usually only be installed as part of another larger scheme or at sites of major concern.

To install new bollards to protect a verge at a resident's request, we will often require the support of the County Councillor, and the resident outside whose house the bollards are proposed to be place.

We may also plant trees in the verge to deter parking. Small, young trees (suitable for the public highway) are planted at the required spacing for the type of tree. However, overhead cables, nearby street lighting columns and other street furniture often prevent this. Please visit our page planting trees on the highways for further information.

While we sometimes receive requests to convert grass verges to hard surfaces, we rarely adopt this practice as the cost of this is high and it has a negative environmental impact.

Illegal items placed on verges

Some residents may take their own measures to prevent parking (often plant-pot shaped concrete blocks, large rocks, timber posts etc). Although these can be aesthetically pleasing, it is an offence to place unlawful items on the public highway.

As mentioned above, under the Highways Act 1980, the public have the right to pass and repass over the full width of the highway (includes roads, pavements and verges).

If unauthorised objects placed on verges are seen or reported we must act to request that the items are removed. Failing this, we can remove the items ourselves and usually at the home owner's expense.

Report a problem

If you have further queries which have not been answered on this page, please contact us using our online form:

Highways problems and enquiries online form