Bid to allow double yellow parking
Steps to help boost high street trading which could include a relaxation of double yellow line restrictions are being considered by the Government.
Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said councils needed "to play their part in reining back in the over-zealous culture of municipal parking enforcement".
He went on: "They should adopt a common-sense approach. Ministers are considering what further steps can be taken to ensure that town hall parking policies and practices support local high streets."
It is thought one of the steps being considered is allowing people to park on a double yellow line for 15 minutes if they were just popping into a shop.
The yellow-line proposal had a mixed reception today, with the AA broadly supportive but the RAC expressing reservations and the Green Party and sustainable transport charity opposed.
AA president Edmund King said: "Rather than just allow drivers to park on double yellow lines, a thorough review of the lines would be more effective. Many double lines are there for historical reasons and could be lifted.
"There is plenty of opportunity to ease back on the signs and lines in many places, giving drivers short-term waiting bays instead, so they can stop briefly to buy a paper or loaf of bread."
He went on: "Local authorities should be encouraged to do what the Government does with regulations - 'one in one out' - so that yellow lines do not run out of control.
"Lifting restrictions on yellow lines should not be an excuse for hiking parking penalties outside London."
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "We should be careful what we wish for. Drivers are already able to make limited stops on double yellow lines and while we support a common sense approach to parking policy, businesses are as likely to be adversely affected by a parking free for all as they are by draconian restrictions.
"We are not convinced this move will save the high street."
London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones said: "It's time we stopped peddling the notion that cars are the only way that people get to shops.
"Londoners need pedestrian friendly, 20mph high streets, good public transport access and more cycle parking. Allowing people to park on double yellow lines is a crazy backwards step that would create bigger traffic jams and even more dangerous spaces for cyclists and pedestrians."
Sustrans' policy director Jason Torrance said: "The assumption that making it easier to drive to the shops will save the high street is fundamentally wrong.The last thing that our high streets need is more parking, more traffic and more congestion."
Business Secretary Vince Cable told Channel 5 News: "I've got a lot of sympathy with what (Communities and Local Government Secretary) Eric Pickles is trying to do.
"I think a lot of small businesses are driven to distraction by over-zealous enforcement of parking rules, so I think a little bit of common sense and flexibility is very much to be welcomed."