A parking prohibition is a restriction on vehicles waiting on any section of the public highway (carriageway and public pavement). It is the most common on-street restriction on stationary vehicles in the United Kingdom and comes in a variety of versions that sometimes cause confusion to drivers and not a few Parking Attendants! This sometimes leads to the incurring and issuing of unnecessary and incorrect parking tickets.

Parking and waiting bans refer to the same thing and are used interchangeably in UK traffic law. Parking bans in the UK are also the least severe of its three on-street restrictions on stationary vehicles. – Parking, Loading and Stopping Bans

All parking restrictions usually permit the loading and unloading of heavy or bulky goods for a maximum duration, usually 20 minutes, provided the activity is visible and continuous. Parking bans do not prohibit a vehicle from stopping.

A vehicle stops either in compliance to a traffic signal or sign or to allow the alighting or disembarking of passengers, provided there is no undue delay in either activity. The need to stop in these instances overrides any parking ban in the United Kingdom.

There are broadly two types of parking bans in the UK. They are –

• Marked/Signed Bans

• Unmarked/Unsigned Bans

Marked/Signed Parking Bans

These are parking bans denoted by some form of visual representation on street such as a road marking and/or an upright sign. These will include the ubiquitous yellow line and the overnight waiting ban.

Yellow line or restricted street – (enforced by Contravention code 01)

Yellow lines can either come as single or double yellow lines. Single yellow lines broadly ban parking for less than 24 hours, usually for some period covering the working day. Single yellow lines within Controlled Parking Zones will not require individual time plates as long as they share the zone’s operational hours. However they will have to be individually signposted if they either reside outside a Controlled Parking Zone, or are within one, but don’t share its hours of operation.

Double yellow lines are enforced for 24 hours and do not require upright signs to be enforced.

Yellow line parking bans are promulgated by Local authorities in the UK through Traffic Orders (Traffic Regulation Orders in London) under the Road Traffic Act 1984. The orders must be promulgated in line with the stipulations of the Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996. The rules governing the marking and signage of single yellow and double yellow lines are established by the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions TSRGD 2002, diagram 1017 and 1018 (respectively) and authorised by its Regulation 4 and Directions 7, 18(1), 22, 24(1), 24(4) and 25

Overnight waiting restriction (enforced by Contravention code 55)

An overnight waiting ban is another parking ban requiring on-street signage, but not specific road markings. It prohibits parking on specified streets during the evening and early hours and is applied to vehicles of a certain tonnage (usually 5 or 7.5 tonnes) However a large sign (TSRGD 640.2A) will be required on both sides of the relevant road. This sign is authorised by TSRGD 2002 – Regulations 14 and 24, Directions 7 and Schedule 16, items 12, 14 and 38. This sign will have to be placed on both sides of the road and will apply to the entire street.

Unmarked/Unsigned Bans

These are parking bans that do not require any visual representation on street to be enforced. They include –

• Footway Parking Bans • Crossover Parking Bans • Double parking Ban

Footway Parking (enforced by contravention code 62 and 61)

A footway parking ban prevents vehicles waiting on the public section of the footway. This ban does not require any signs or road markings to be enforced and should be assumed on any public road particularly in Greater London. Where footway parking is permitted, particularly in areas where it is largely banned, standard signs authorised by the TSRGD 2002 (Diagrams 667 and 668) will clearly state this. While loading is largely discouraged from the footway, it is not specifically banned and genuine loading/unloading from the footway should largely be exempt from parking enforcement. The footway ban is enforced for 24 hours.

Crossover Parking and Double Parking (enforced by contravention code 27 and 26)

Neither of these bans requires road markings or signs to be validly enforced. A crossover is that lowered section of the pavement which allows vehicular access to private property or access to/from the carriageway for encumbered pedestrians or those with restricted mobility. Local authorities do not need to promulgate any traffic order to enforce this restriction. The Traffic Management Act 2004 allows this prohibition to be introduced without any prior traffic order although some form of public consultation is encouraged. Crossover parking bans are usually enforced for 24 hours.

The ban carries a number of exemptions, the key one being an exemption from the ban for any vehicle parked on a crossover to private premises with permission by the property owner.

The double parking ban does not as the name suggests, imply a vehicle separated from the kerb by the width of another vehicle. It indicates a vehicle parked 50cm or more from the kerb. Again this ban like the cross over ban does not require a separate traffic order and can be implemented directly by local authorities under the Traffic Management Act.