Parking policies form an essential part of a roads authority traffic management strategy to help reduce congestion and improve safety. Irresponsible parking can and does have a negative impact, particularly when inconsiderate, obstructive or even dangerous parking takes place thereby restricting access for emergency services or putting the safety of pedestrians and other motorists in jeopardy by forcing people onto the road amongst moving traffic.

Whether parking a vehicle on or off the road it is important that motorists make themselves aware of any restrictions that may be in place at that location. Details of any restriction are usually displayed via information plates or boards.  It is the responsibility of Motorists to understand whether they are complying with the terms and conditions of any restrictions.

Improving Parking in Scotland


In May 2015, Sandra White MSP, introduced the Footway Parking and Double Parking (Scotland) Bill. The aim of the Member’s Bill was to prohibit parking on pavements, parking at dropped kerbs and double parking. The Bill’s primary aim was to enhance freedom of movement for pedestrians, particularly for those with disabilities and their carers, older people and people with pushchairs.

Following the Bill’s introduction the then Presiding Officer issued a statement that “the Bill, in her view, was out-with the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament”. The analysis and conclusion was on the basis that the Bill related to reserved subject matter contained in the Road Traffic Act 1988, namely the regulation of road transport for the purposes of ensuring safety.

To address the legislative competence issues raised by the Presiding Officer, a package of amendments were included in the Scotland Act 2016, which received royal assent on 24 March 2016.

Due to the complex nature of the issues relating to parking and the concerns raised by stakeholders, the Scottish Government clearly set out an intention to use the powers devolved by the Scotland Act 2016 by including responsible parking provisions in the miscellaneous Transport Bill.

Stakeholder Working Group

A Responsible Parking Stakeholder Working Group was established, which includes representatives from a range of organisations, including Living Streets, Scottish Disability Equality Forum, disability groups, CoSLA, local authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships, Society of Chief Officers for Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS), Cycling Scotland, representatives from small businesses and the retail sector, Planning groups, the Freight Transportation organisations, motoring organisations, emergency services and other stakeholders.

The working group first met on 24 August 2016 and has continued to work in collaboration to develop the consultation document.

Public Consultation

The focus of this consultation paper is to invite views from stakeholders and members of the public on delivering a consistent approach to managing and enforcing parking on public roads, including trunk roads and thereby improving accessibility for all. The consultation responses will inform our policy on how this can best be achieved, and help to develop the provisions for the Transport Bill and supporting guidance, which will be presented for consideration by the Scottish Parliament.

The public consultation, including a link to the information leaflet, is available online.


Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE)

Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) in Scotland at September 2020DPE is a regime which enables a local authority to enforce its own parking policies using parking attendants employed by the Council or outsourced to a third party on behalf of a Council. The powers enable parking attendants to issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to motorists breaching parking controls in specific areas. 

Any local authority may apply to the Scottish Ministers for orders decriminalising certain parking offences
within their area. Upon completion of their application,
offences cease to be the responsibility of the police and instead become the responsibility of the local authority concerned.

A local authority which operates a Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) regime employs parking attendants who place Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) on vehicles contravening parking regulations. Out of 32 Scottish local authorities, 21 now have DPE powers while the remaining 11 local authorities are either actively working towards DPE or rely on Police Scotland to undertake parking enforcement on their behalf through separate agreements.

Penalty charges are considered civil debts, and revenue generated accrues to the Local Authority to finance the enforcement and adjudication of the scheme. Any surpluses are used firstly to improve off-street parking facilities and secondly for general traffic management and public transport purposes.

Motorists wishing to contest liability for a penalty charge may have representation to the local authority concerned and, if rejected may have grounds to appeal to independent adjudicators whose decision is final.

Guide to application process and Q&A for Local Authorities

For more information regarding DPE and the application process, please contact Sharon.Wood@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk.

Income and Expenditure Annual Reports

Parking on Private Land

Privately operated car parks are not subject to the provisions of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 or the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984. It is up to private companies to decide how to lawfully manage their operations. Drivers parking in privately owned car parks – e.g. a supermarket or hospital car park, it is assumed that they have agreed to enter into a contract with the landholder, which may or may not result in a fee. Motorists should ensure they understand the operators’ terms and conditions before choosing to park.

Large numbers of private car parking operators are members of the British Parking Association (BPA) or Independent Parking Committee (IPC), who operate strict codes of practice, which sets out how their members should act.

In 2014, the Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) published a report entitled “It’s Not Fine”, which expressed criticism about the unfair charges from private parking operators. On 22 September, the Minister for Transport and Islands responded to a Member’s Parliamentary debate (S4M-13861) about the CAS report and in particular, issues on signage and level of fines. In a speech to the Scottish Parliament, the Minister made it clear that:

“we will move forward to ensure that people are treated more fairly, which is the essence of the CAS campaign. ….The Scottish Government will take on board all today’s comments and convey them to all the operators. We will strive for a fairer, more transparent and more reasonable approach…”.

Motorists disputing a private parking charge can get advice from CAS. They can also take the matter up with the operator. If the operator rejects your appeal, you can submit an appeal to the Independent Appeals Service, which was extended to Scotland in April 2015.

Disabled Persons Parking Places (Scotland) Act 2009

Image of Disabled parking signThe aim of the Disabled Persons Parking Places (Scotland) Act 2009 is that all disabled street parking places become enforceable. A duty has been imposed on local authorities to identify all existing advisory disabled street parking places and, for those still needed, to promote orders to make it an offence to park without a valid Blue Badge.

Our Role

A requirement is placed on local authorities to report to Scottish Ministers on their performance in relation to their function and duties under the Act. Scottish Ministers are required to collate this information and report to the Scottish Parliament on the overall performance of local authorities. Transport Scotland gathers and collates this information in an annual report to Ministers. Annual reports and documents.

Annual reports and documents