Disabled claimants gear up for legal action over guidance for councils on managing pavements during COVID-19

Two people with disabilities are trying to raise funds for a legal challenge to Government guidance to local authorities on managing pavements for more walking and cycling during the pandemic.

They said the guidance, Reallocating road space in response to COVID-19: statutory guidance for local authorities, paid little attention to the needs of people with disabilities and was mainly concerned with promoting walking and cycling as alternatives to public transport during the pandemic, with only a brief reference to disabilities.

Sarah Leadbetter, who is visually impaired, and Doug Paulley, a wheelchair user, have raised £1,358 so far towards a £3,000 target for a legal challenge on their crowdfunding page.

They said the obstruction of pavements and dropped kerbs by cars and vans was a major barrier for many pedestrians including disabled people.

The government had “failed to deal with the problem of pavement obstruction and…its guidance about coronavirus infrastructure changes may be unlawful”, they said.

During the pandemic disabled people had reported more instances than normal of obstructed pavements “as it appears that local authorities and police forces have not been able to attempt even the usual low levels of enforcement activities”.

Mark Smulian

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