Parking restrictions for loading and unloading

There may be an exemption to the enforcement of parking restrictions if you are loading or unloading goods and your activity meets certain criteria.

Each case will be treated on its own merits and all circumstances will be taken into account, with reference to our guidelines.

CHART guidelines

The circumstances we will consider are set out in the 'CHART' guidelines:

  • Continuous
  • Heavy goods
  • Adjacent
  • Reasonable
  • Timely


The motorist should not break off the activity of loading or unloading. However, this does not infer that activities such as completing paperwork or locating the goods in the premises are not part of the loading or unloading process.

Heavy goods

The goods that are being loaded or unloaded must be:

  • of a weight or bulk so that they cannot reasonably be transported without a vehicle
  • of a type that cannot easily be carried by one person in one trip

In some circumstances several small or lightweight items delivered in the course of a trade or business may be considered as goods (see Delivery and Collection below).

Shopping may also be classed as goods.

A loading exemption would not apply if goods have not been purchased prior to the waiting action. It is not lawful for a vehicle to wait whilst a purchase is made regardless of the type of goods involved. The exemption does not cover choosing the goods (the process of shopping), but it would apply while goods are being put into a vehicle.


The vehicle must be parked adjacent to where the loading activity is occurring. If the vehicle were parked in another street, more than 50 metres away, it would be difficult to argue that it was adjacent.


Unloading vast quantities of goods and taking all day to do it would not be considered reasonable. Where the loading or unloading is likely to take a long time and cause a lot of disruption the council should be notified in advance to enable arrangements to be made to try and accommodate it.

The vehicle does not have to be a goods vehicle, but it must be necessary for the activity and not merely convenient to use a vehicle.


The loading or unloading should be completed as quickly as possible.

Observation time

Civil Enforcement Officers will observe vehicles that are parked on yellow lines for 5 minutes in order to establish whether any loading or unloading is taking place from, or to, the vehicle.

If they do not observe any activity taking place within those 5 minutes they will issue a penalty charge notice.

The 5 minute observation time may be reduced in exceptional circumstances, for example when a Civil Enforcement Officer has evidence that no loading or unloading is taking place.

Delivery and collection

If the delivery is being carried out in the course of a trade or business, rather than a private delivery, it will usually fall within the meaning of 'delivering and collecting goods'.

The size and weight of goods is not such an important factor for delivery and collection, whether dealing with multiple deliveries or one-off deliveries.

Deliveries of small items in the course of business are allowed, but the smaller and lighter the goods, the shorter the time needed to deliver. There may therefore be a greater need for the driver to provide proof that a delivery took no longer than was necessary if there was a lengthy absence from the vehicle.

The use of a vehicle simply because it is more convenient than carrying goods is not normally sufficient reason for an exemption to apply. However, all commercial deliveries have more to them than convenient use of a vehicle, as there are considerations of time and money involved.

Drivers involved in commercial deliveries should be able to provide some form of supporting evidence if required. The driver does not have to prove that it was necessary to park where they did. They may, however, have to prove that they did not park for longer than was necessary.

As with non-commercial loading, the selecting or choosing of goods is specifically excluded. The goods must have been pre-ordered or collection pre-arranged.

The delivery process applies to the completion of paperwork, which is reasonably required, e.g. delivery note, obtaining a signature.

Loading bans and loading bays

There are certain areas and times when loading exemptions do not apply. In such cases signs and kerb markings should be in place to indicate this:

  • no loading or unloading at any time, indicated by a sign and double yellow kerb markings
  • no loading or unloading at certain times, indicated by a sign with single yellow kerb markings
  • loading bay, indicated by a sign, with white lines and writing marking the bay

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