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Protecting Grass Verges - Parking

Introduction

Parking on grass verges is a persistent problem as it can not only reduce the verge to an unsightly state, but it can also obstruct the highway and prevent 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. We do not promote or support parking on grass verges.

Legal implications

In common law, drivers have the right to pass and re-pass along the road. There is no legal right to park on a road, verge or footway.

Where no parking controls (such as yellow line waiting restrictions) are present on the road next the verge, parking on a grass verge in Surrey is only classed as an offence if there are signs on the verge stating 'no parking' under the Surrey Act 1985. However, a driver may be open to prosecution, whether there are signs on the verge or not, if their vehicle is persistently damaging a verge, parked dangerously or causing an obstruction.

Protection

We use three main methods to deter parking on grass verges:-

Timber posts

These are placed in a concrete foundation approximately 1.5 – 3 metres apart with a visible height of around 600mm.

Tree planting

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. Visit our page planting trees on the highways.

Prohibition signing

Signs are placed enforcing the Surrey Act 1985 which prohibits parking on grass verges. These signs can either be installed on their own or alongside timber posts.

Costs

All methods require funding from very limited maintenance budgets. Funding may be provided specifically for verge protection but this is not always guaranteed.

Grass cutting

Drivers parking on a grass verge can prevent grass cutting from taking place both underneath the vehicle and around it. Although verge protection methods such as posts can prevent a driven lawn mower from cutting the verge, strimmers can be used instead. However, as strimmers are a more time consuming and costly way of grass cutting, posts and signs are only installed where there is a persistent parking problem.

Diverting the problem

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 equitable.

Illegal Items placed on verge

Some residents may take their own measures to prevent parking (often plant-pot shaped concrete blocks or large rocks). Although these can be aesthetically pleasing, it is an offence to place unlawful items on the public highway. If seen or reported, we have the right to request that the items are removed. Failing this, we can have the items removed by our constructors.

Waiting Restrictions

Waiting restrictions 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 adjacent to a carriageway where a waiting restriction applies could result in a driver being issued parking ticket even though their vehicle is not encroaching onto any waiting restriction road markings.

Converting Grass Verges to a Hard Surface

Although it is possible to convert a grass verge to a hard-standing surface such as bitmac, block paving, grasscrete or concrete, the cost of this is high and it encourages parking in residential areas. We therefore rarely adopt this practice.

Large Goods Vehicles

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.

Good Practice

  • All timber posts should include either a reflective band or individual reflectors near the top of the post. If red and white reflectors are used then the red reflector should face on-coming traffic.
  • Timber posts should be installed with a visible height of no less than 600mm.
  • Timber posts should be installed with spacing between 1.5m and 3m.
  • Damaged verges should be re-seeded when protection measures are installed.
  • As resources for enforcement are limited, posts should be considered as an addition to any prohibition signing. Whilst posts will physically prevent parking, prohibition signing will help alert offending motorists.
  • Prohibition signing should be installed on existing lamp columns and posts where possible to prevent clutter.
  • Where new posts are required for prohibition signing they should be 1.5m in height. Having a reduced post height keeps environmental intrusion to a minimum and creates a better visual balance between signs and posts.
  • As trees require a greater amount of spacing than timber posts, they can often be ineffective as a verge protection measure until they begin to grow. Therefore, timber posts should be considered as an addition to tree planting.
  • Verges with the greatest extent of parking damage should be given priority

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

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