RESIDENTS in Abingdon, Botley and other areas tell me that problems caused by dangerous or inconsiderate parking are on the rise.

Bad parking can cause danger at junctions and problems for wheelchair users and those pushing prams.

It can frequently make life very difficult for pedestrians and cyclists too.

And, because the pressure on our police has been growing steadily too, they do not have the time to deal with parking problems nowadays.

As well as hot spots in our market towns, there is also a growing problem of commuter parking around bus routes into Oxford and places like Radley Station.

But getting something done is not straight forward.

Responsibility for enforcing safe and legal parking sits with the police. However, as resources are stretched and PCSO numbers are reduced, parking offences slip down the priority list.

Quite reasonably, our local police focus on protecting vulnerable people and tackling violent crime, but this means that action on dangerous parking is rare. And when requests are made to put additional parking restrictions, they are often dismissed because the police do not have the resource to enforce them.

But there is another way: decriminalising on-street parking so that the district councils can employ wardens and enforce safe parking directly.

Despite decriminalised or civil parking having been adopted by 94 per cent of local authority areas in England, this is not the case in the Vale of White Horse or South Oxfordshire.

In 2014 the Vale cabinet decided not to set up a civil parking scheme on cost grounds.

Lib Dem councillors are now renewing their calls for the Vale to take control and tackle poor parking, and I am fully behind their campaign.

I was delighted to see that a motion calling on the Vale to come up with a costed proposal for Civil parking enforcement received cross-party support at Abingdon Town Council. I hope that the motion being put forward by Lib Dem councillors at the Vale council meeting will receive strong support too.

As well as freeing up police time, civil parking would create a team of staff who are able to respond to complaints about dangerous parking promptly.

The schemes are self-funding and any set up costs can be recouped from fines and local people would be better able to influence the rules about parking in their neighbourhoods.

No system is perfect, but civil parking enforcement would be a vast improvement.