Parking restrictions for loading and unloading

There is an exemption to the parking restrictions if you're loading or unloading goods on street, if your activity meets certain criteria. We use an acronym for this 'CHART', meaning:

'C' for continuous - the motorist should not break off the activity of loading/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/unloading process. Each case will be treated on its own merits and all circumstances will be taken into account.

'H' for heavy goods - the goods that are being loaded/unloaded must be of such a burden of weight or bulk that they cannot reasonably be conveyed otherwise than by means of a vehicle. The goods must be of a type that cannot easily be carried by one person in one trip. Having said that, in some circumstances 'goods' may be an aggregate of several small or lightweight items when delivered in the course of a trade or business (see Delivery and Collection below). Shopping may be classed as goods but a vehicle is not covered by a loading exemption if the goods concerned have not been purchased prior to the waiting action. It is not lawful for a vehicle to wait whilst a purchase is made irrespective of the type of goods involved. The exemption does not cover choosing the goods i.e. the process of shopping, but it would apply while the goods are being put into a vehicle.

'A' for adjacent - 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. 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.

'R' for reasonable - For example, unloading vast quantities of goods and taking all day to do it would not be considered reasonable. Where the loading/unloading is likely to take a long time and cause a lot of disruption the council should be notified prior to the loading taking place to enable arrangements to be made to try and accommodate it.

'T' for timely - the loading should be completed as quickly as possible.

Observing vehicles

The Civil Enforcement Officers are instructed to observe vehicles that are parked on yellow lines for 5 minutes in order to establish whether any loading/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. If a motorist, therefore, is loading/unloading they should be advised not to leave the vehicle unattended for more than 5 minutes.

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

There are also certain areas and times when loading/unloading is not allowed at all. In such cases signs and kerb markings should be in place to indicate this:

  • no loading or unloading at any time sign, with double yellow curb markings
  • no loading or unloading at the times shown sign, with single yellow curb markings
  • loading only sign, with white lines and writing marking the bay

Delivery and collection

If the delivery is being carried out in the course of a trade or business, as compared to a private delivery, it will usually fall within the meaning of 'delivering and collecting goods', even if the size and weight of one item of the 'goods' is small in itself, for example a milk delivery float.

The point is illustrated easily by multiple deliveries, but it also applies to one-off deliveries too. Deliveries of small items in the course of business are permitted but it should be borne in mind that the smaller and lighter the goods, the shorter the time needed to deliver. There may be a greater evidential burden on the driver to prove that he took no longer than was necessary if there was a lengthy absence from the vehicle.

The use of a vehicle, merely because it is more convenient than carrying goods, is not normally sufficient reason for the exemption to apply. However, all commercial deliveries have more to them than mere convenient use of a vehicle, as there are obvious 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. However, selecting or choosing 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.

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