Scotland Bill — Third Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:00 pm on 21st March 2016.

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Photo of Lord McAvoy Lord McAvoy Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow Spokesperson (Scotland), Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Lords) 4:00 pm, 21st March 2016

My Lords, I thank the Minister for introducing these amendments. We particularly welcome those relating to pavement parking and recognise that the others are largely technical in nature. We are therefore more than happy to support them.

The amendments on pavement parking reflect amendments which this side of the House tabled both in the other place and in Committee in your Lordships’ House and which were welcomed honourably by the Minister. The work of the organisations, Living Streets and Guide Dogs Scotland, was invaluable and I extend my thanks to them.

I know that in the grand scheme of things the amendments might be regarded as minor, but they are important to a big section of our community. Pavement parking is dangerous for pedestrians, especially people with sight loss, parents with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other disabled people. People with sight loss are particularly affected, as they can be forced into oncoming traffic which they cannot see. A survey by Guide Dogs Scotland showed that 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions and some 90% of them had experienced trouble with a pavement-parked car. Pavements are not designed to take the weight of vehicles, and cars cause paving to crack and tarmac to subside. This damage makes pavements uneven, creating a trip hazard for pedestrians, particularly blind and partially sighted people. I know that the cost of repairing pavements is a parochial issue, but it is a burden for local authorities, which in Scotland are under particular pressure as a result of government cuts—SNP Government cuts, I hasten to add. We are therefore glad that the Scottish Government now have the necessary legislative competence to put measures in place to prevent this happening. I repeat my thanks to the Minister and welcome the amendments.