Michael Matheson has assured Guide Dogs Scotland of the Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce legislation to end unsafe pavement parking.
The Falkirk West MSP, who met representatives of the charity recently, also pledged to help raise awareness of the challenges cars parked on pavements create for blind and partially sighted people.
Guide Dogs Scotland is supporting proposals in the Transport (Scotland) Bill to ban pavement parking, except in areas that need a legitimate exemption. The legislation was tabled at Holyrood in June.
A survey by the charity found 90% of blind or partially sighted people have encountered problems with cars parked on a pavement.
Mr Matheson, who is the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said: “Pavement parking clearly provides a major obstacle to blind and partially sighted people, who may have to risk their safety by walking into the road when faced with such an obstruction.
“The Scottish Government’s proposed nationwide ban on pavement parking will replace the need for each council to introduce restrictions via traffic regulation orders and give local authorities new powers to tackle this problem.
“MSPs have previously shown unanimous support for such a ban but we have had to wait for the powers to legislate on this to be devolved from Westminster.”
Guide Dogs Scotland’s engagement manager Niall Foley said: “Cars blocking pavements are a nuisance for everyone but can be a real danger for people with sight loss by potentially forcing them out into the road to get by.
“The powers that councils and police have at the moment aren’t sufficient to tackle the problem and that’s why we are supporting the Scottish Government’s proposals in the Transport (Scotland) Bill for a clear law where drivers cannot park on the pavement unless they’re in a specifically designated area.”