Sheffield drivers warned as pavement parking could soon be banned across UK
A ban on parking on pavements across England could be introduced to help pedestrians, the Department for Transport has announced.
The Government will consult on whether to give local authorities more power to tackle the problem.
Parking on pavements is banned in London but elsewhere it is only prohibited for lorries.
People who park in a dangerous position or cause an unnecessary obstruction can be fined, and a mixture of criminal and civil sanctions are available to police and local councils to enforce restrictions on pavement parking.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "Vehicles parked on the pavement can cause very real difficulties for many pedestrians.
"That's why I am taking action to make pavements safer and I will be launching a consultation to find a long-term solution for this complex issue. This will look at a variety of options - including giving local authorities extended powers to crack down on this behaviour."
The announcement is in response to a report by the Commons' Transport Select Committee in September last year which called for a blanket nationwide ban on the "blight" of parking on pavements.
Witnesses told MPs that the worst cases of pavement parking were effectively trapping disabled, elderly and vulnerable people, making them "afraid to leave their homes".
The cross-party group said blocked-off walkways were also exacerbating the issue of loneliness in Britain.
Huw Merriman, who chairs the committee, said there was "much to praise" in the DfT's response to its concerns and it welcomed the intention to consult on how a ban would work.
But he noted that in 2015, the Government promised to look into the issue of pavement parking but consultations and reviews failed to improve roadside conditions.
He added: "This Government has signalled an intent to finally deliver change. We now need a detailed timeframe from the Department for Transport to ensure this happens."
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: "We absolutely agree that people who park in an anti-social way should be penalised. Many drivers in narrow streets are tempted to partially park on the pavement so emergency services and refuse trucks can pass.
"An outright ban could lead to unintended consequences with parking chaos becoming more widespread. A better solution would be for councils to make a street-by-street assessment and where pavement parking could be allowed it be clearly marked and signed."