Midlothian MP supports Guide Dogs’ pavement parking campaign

Owen Thompson MP at the guide dogs #pavementparking campaign exhibition at the SNP conference
Owen Thompson MP at the guide dogs #pavementparking campaign exhibition at the SNP conference

Owen Thompson MP took on the challenge of cleaning up the streets when the charity Guide Dogs offered him the chance to learn more about the daily difficulties faced by people living with sight loss.

Guide Dogs is calling on MPs and the public to back new Bills in Scotland, England and Wales to outlaw irresponsible parking.

According to the charity, badly parked cars are putting the lives of pedestrians up and down the country at risk every day. These vehicles are forcing people to step out onto the road, without being able to clearly see oncoming traffic.

The charity used a unique twist on the fun-fair game, hook-a-duck, to highlight the campaign, and Mr Thompson became the guide when he helped a rubber duck navigate a stream full of obstacles.

The MP for Midlothian is supporting Guide Dogs’ campaign on pavement parking, including proposed laws to restrict it to designated areas.

Mr Thompson, pictured above at the Guide Dogs campaign exhibition at last month’s SNP conference, said: “We must raise awareness of blind and visually impaired pedestrians and encourage motorists to help keep them safe by parking responsibly and being aware of the physical and mental challenges that this can present.

“Often journeys are physically challenging which can provoke severe anxiety leading to a reduction in mobility.”

James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said: “Parking on pavements is blighting Britain’s streets. It puts all pedestrians in danger, particularly those living with sight loss.

“It is terrifying for someone who cannot see oncoming traffic to take the risk of stepping out into a road because someone has decided to park on the pavement. We hope this year will see this dangerous practice outlawed once and for all, and call on all MPs to back a change in the law.”

There are nearly two million people in the UK who are living with sight loss and by 2050, there could be nearly four million.