Health staff, key workers and volunteers prioritised in parking changes to address Covid19 spread

Published: Monday, March 23, 2020

To enable those who work in health services or deliver vital community support – including other care staff and volunteers, key workers and those providing help to vulnerable residents can apply for an emergency parking dispensation, giving them priority over parking in the borough.

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This is part of a number of changes in local parking rules to respond to the growing spread of the virus.

Consistent with existing Government advice, everyone should avoid non-essential travel. However, inline with guidance from London Councils, Wandsworth Council recognises that health professionals, care workers, those providing voluntary support, essential business/service providers and other key workers, will have an increased call on parking around the borough.

Residents or those who are providing vital care, support or services to help during the Coronavirus pandemic can therefore apply for a parking dispensation by emailing: parking@wandsworth.gov.uk.

It is also the case that with the vast majority of working residents at home, rather than at a usual place of work; car parking in residential streets is in demand.

As a result of these pressures, additional measures are being put in place to support businesses and residents who have urgent need to travel or provide support to a vulnerable resident.

Health workers and Teachers should send their request providing vehicle make, colour and registration from a work email address and proof of employment for example, photo of their staff identification. Residents should provide proof of residency such as Council tax or drivers licence.

Parking management is an important public service, which provides benefits to motorists and the wider community. Those benefits include reducing congestion, maintaining road safety, improving air quality, whilst helping to ensure access to goods and services. This is extremely important, particularly for health and other key workers, as Wandsworth Council aims to keep the borough moving and providing essential services at this challenging time.

Without some level of enforcement, the Council will not be able to ensure good levels of compliance with important parking controls to manage highways effectively.

Therefore, enforcement activity will focus on the more serious ‘higher level’ contraventions and incidents of obstructive or dangerous parking that could have a more significant impact on safety and traffic flow. This will include yellow lines at junctions, loading restrictions, zig zags at crossings and obstruction of dropped kerbs.

Residents with permits in controlled parking zones (CPZs) will be permitted to park on single yellow lines without penalty. Exceptions are where there are safety risks e.g. corners of junctions, across dropped kerbs and on double yellow lines. In all instances, owners leave their cars here at their own risk and we ask residents to consider the impact of their parking on access needs and safety.

In addition, from today (Monday 23 March) before Enforcement Officers issue any parking fine there will be a 20-minute grace period (increased from 5 minutes) for unauthorised parking (in all but demonstrably unsafe or obstructive instances). Enforcement officers will be advised to use further discretion depending on the circumstances.

In all cases please do not park in locations where doing so could endanger fellow residents. If you are instructed to move your vehicle by an Enforcement Officer, please do so. If you do not, your vehicle may be moved.

The Council will review these changes on a daily basis.

Cllr Paul Ellis, cabinet member for strategic planning and transportation, said: "In the coming days and weeks the role of doctors, nurses and all healthcare professionals are going to be crucial and so we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to help them.

“The same of course goes for care staff and volunteers, and those providing help to our vulnerable residents. We need to be making sure that all these people, who are trying to help isolated residents and those who are unwell, can easily get to households.

“I know there have been calls for us to remove all parking restrictions completely and this has been considered. But the decision has been made to prioritise giving vital support and care staff access to people’s homes. Giving everyone unlimited access to park when and where they like would hinder that.

“Of course, we recognise there is still a need for people to make journeys such buying food or driving to work. With our other changes we are making it easier for people to quickly get out and get supplies.

“We are continuously reviewing our parking restrictions and, if we find that further changes are needed then we will make them.

“Meanwhile please follow the national guidance. If you can stay at home do so and if you have to go out, be mindful of the needs of others, particularly those delivering support and people who are most at risk.”