Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

26 JUN 2018

MP meets Guide Dogs in Parliament

Steve Brine MP visited a street scene set up in Parliament last week by the charity Guide Dogs to learn more about the challenges that people with sight loss face when walking the streets.

At the event, the MP for Winchester & Chandler's Ford dodged a pavement parked car, walked across a variety of street clutter, and visited a "shared space" area lacking safety features such as kerbs and pedestrian crossings. He also heard from guide dog owners who told him that dealing with these obstacles can leave them scared and reluctant to go out.

According to a Guide Dogs survey, 97% of blind and partially sighted people have encountered obstacles on the pavement. The most common obstacles were cars parked on the pavement, where 9 out of 10 have had problems with pavement parking. Pavement parked cars force pedestrians into the road to face oncoming traffic, which is particularly dangerous for people with vision impairments, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people.

Guide Dogs is campaigning for a law to make pavement parking an offence, except on streets where local authorities agree that it is safe for pedestrians. This is already the case in London, but elsewhere across the country, councils struggle to tackle unsafe pavement parking.

Steve Brine MP commented: "It was really useful for me to be able to visit the Guide Dogs street scene today, and walk the course so to speak to appreciate for myself the challenges a whole range of people face when it comes to pavement parking. I am very pleased that the Department of Transport is now undertaking a broader piece of work to gather evidence on the issue of pavement parking, and look forward to its conclusions later this year."

James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented: "Too often, our streets can be cluttered with dangerous obstacles for blind and partially sighted people. The worst offenders are cars parked on the pavement. If you have a vision impairment, pavement parked cars aren't just a nuisance, they can force you to step out into the road and put you in real danger.

"Outside London, the law on pavement parking is unclear and difficult to enforce. We want pavement parking to be the exception so pedestrians can rely on their path being clear. When drivers themselves don't know the rules, that is a strong sign the law needs to change.

"Back in 2015, the Government committed to look into every option to tackle this serious problem. We hope that they will now follow up with a new law on pavement parking."

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Steve Brine: I will write to the hon. Gentleman about his first two points. As for the mass media point, the hard-hitting campaigns that we conduct through the mass media are incredibly powerful. Last year’s campaign showed a gentleman rolling a cigarette with roll-your-own tobacco made of blood and gore. That was very hard-hitting, and it had an incredibly good response mechanism when we tested it...

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Steve Brine: With the leave of the House, I will also respond to the debate, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am aware that I am standing in the middle of the A14—almost literally—which is tonight’s Adjournment debate, but I will respond to the points that have been raised in this short and small but perfectly formed debate. The shadow Minister—my good friend, the hon. Member for Washington...

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Steve Brine: I will give way.


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