Kerb Your Enthusiasm: Millions of homeowners risk fines to access their own driveways

  • More than a quarter (29 per cent) of households with a driveway or off-street parking don’t have a dropped kerb
  • Homeowners can be fined for driving across the pavement to access a drive or for illegally installing a dropped kerb
  • Postcode lottery – there is huge variation in the application cost for a dropped kerb, Reading Borough Council charges £81 while Surrey Country Council charges a fee of £340
  • Crossing a kerb that isn’t dropped can cause significant harm to a vehicle, over half (54 per cent) of drivers noted damage to their vehicle when hitting a kerb


New research1 from Direct Line Motor Insurance reveals millions of homeowners could face fines because they are illegally driving across pavement, without a council approved crossover, to access their drive or off-street parking. More than a quarter (29 per cent) of households with a driveway or off-street parking don’t have a council approved dropped kerb, which means people are illegally driving across public footways to park on their property. Householders may be charged up to £1,0002 if they drive over a kerb or a grass verge without a properly constructed crossover.

On average councils3 receive over 14,000 planning requests for dropped kerbs each year, however a fifth of applications are rejected. Applications for dropped kerbs can be rejected if householders don’t have a large enough driveway, if there are trees or grass close to the dropped kerb exit, or if there is poor visibility from the drive to the road. If a householder is within 10 metres of a road junction, or there is a lamp post within a metre of the dropped kerb exit, they are likely to see applications rejected. Those living in a conservation area or in a listed building will often require planning permission before they can even apply for a dropped kerb.

With many councils charging non-refundable fees for applications, it can be an expensive rejection. Surrey County Council4 charges an initial assessment fee of £140, followed by a further fee of £200 for a full application, with both costs non-refundable. If successful in their application, homeowners must use an approved contractor to conduct the building works at an average cost of £1,800. In contrast Reading Borough Council5 charges just £81 for a dropped kerb application.

While some householders just drive over the kerb to access off street parking on their property, others have illegally installed their dropped kerbs. Every year councils conduct over 1,000 investigations into illegally installed dropped kerbs and if they find one that has been illegally installed homeowners can be fined and charged for the cost of repairs.

Lorraine Price, Head of Direct Line Motor Insurance comments: “People risk large fines if they try and install their own dropped kerb to access their property. It is important people go through the correct channels and apply to their local council for permission. Driving across a pavement without a dropped kerb is not only illegal, but it can also cause significant damage to a vehicle.”

Crossing a kerb that isn’t dropped can cause significant harm, over half of drivers (54 per cent) have caused damage to their vehicle when hitting a kerb. With the average cost of fixing this damage sitting at over £100 (£109.30) it is a cost that is best avoided. Hitting a kerb may cause damage to the front or rear suspension and undercarriage, impact the alignment of a vehicle, affect brake and cooling lines, and damage a tyre’s sidewall, increasing the risk of a blowout.

- Ends -

Notes to editors:

1 Survey conducted by Opinium of 2,000 UK car owners - 21st - 24th August 2023


3   Freedom of Information Act request made to 381 local councils across the UK in March 2021. A total of 252 (66 per cent) councils responded to this request, of which 153 (40 per cent) provided usable data.



For further information please contact:

Alice Osborn

PR Manager

[email protected]

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by U K Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England and Wales No 1179980. U K Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and U K Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0345 246 3761 or visiting