Tackling highways obstructions in London
What was the issue for pedestrians?
Pavement obstructions, particularly traders’ advertising boards, make life difficult for those who are blind, partially sighted or with reduced mobility.
What did we do?
We published our Inclusive Streets report in 2015 which called for TfL and the London boroughs to do more to get obstructions removed from pavements. We launched the report at a best practice seminar event attended by 20 London Boroughs, TfL and the RNIB. The event included an introduction from Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and contributions from the London Borough of Kingston on Thames, Hackney Council and Transport for London.
Sicne then we have continued to press for tough action against traders who obstruct pavements, working with TfL to crack down on persistent offenders.
What was the outcome?
We helped to increase awareness of the duty that highways authorities have to keep streets clear of clutter.
TfL recently adopted a zero tolerance approach to highways obstructions on the streets it controls and will be enforcing against those that obstruct the pavement. We have also had discussions with several boroughs who are considering doing more to enforce against highways obstructions.
We were pleased to see several prosecutions in 2017/18 against traders obstructing the highway with advertising boards and shop awnings. In addition, Sainsbury's became the first major retailer to agree to no longer obstruct London's pavements, withdrawing its boards from outside all their stores on TfL's streets, the 'Red Routes'.