Parking of commercial vehicles

Publisher:Department for Transport
Publication type:Instructional
Published date: 13 June 2007
Mode/topic:Roads, Legislation, Local authorities, Parking

Local authorities can control the parking of commercial vehicles under 3.5 tonnes, but there are difficulties in doing so. Under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 they have powers to restrict the parking on-street of any class of vehicle, and for this purpose they may define classes of vehicle by reference to length, width, height, weight or any other characteristic whatsoever.

However, commercial vans are by no means a uniform group. Many of the smaller ones are similar to estate cars or other dual purpose vehicles such as Range Rovers or people carriers. It would be very difficult, therefore, for a local authority to frame a prohibition which prevented parking of one type of vehicle without at the same time catching these other groups.

The situation is more straightforward if the vehicles are more than 3.5 tonnes. In areas where such parking is a problem there is no reason why the local authorities concerned should not deal with it using their powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. In addition, operators of goods vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes are required to have an operator’s license, the conditions of which may require vehicles to be kept off the road when not in use.

The powers that can be used by local authorities under the provisions of the Road Traffic Regulation Act are very wide and extremely flexible. Local authorities can impose parking restrictions over whole areas or over a particular street or parts of streets. They can prohibit parking altogether or restrict it to particular times; and they can apply restrictions to all vehicles or specific classes of vehicles as described above. Individual authorities have complete discretion over the characteristics they use and the limits they impose.

Where a local authority has been given the power under the Road Traffic Act 1991 to enforce parking regulations, they may use it to ensure that vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes comply with any restrictions introduced under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.

The Department for Transport cannot intervene in any individual cases involving the parking of large vehicles as this is strictly a matter for the relevant local authority.