Friday 29th March 2019
Clampdown on parking tickets: New rules to protect millions of motorists in full

New legislation will see the introduction of an independent appeals service to help drivers challenge unfair parking tickets.

Emma Munbodh, The Mirror, reports:

New laws are set to safeguard drivers against bogus private parking firms as part of a wider plan to clamp down on bad practices.

The new Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019, which received Royal Assent on Friday, will bring in greater regulation of the private parking industry.

Drivers will be able to more easily challenge unfair parking tickets through a new independent appeals service, and all private parking operators will have to follow a new industry backed Code of Practice.

If private parking firms break the code, they could be barred from asking for motorists’ information from the DVLA to enforce tickets.

Last year, the DVLA shared 5.65 million vehicle keeper records with private firms - a practice that could be banned if they failed to acknowledge new laws.

The new independent appeals service will also give drivers greater support to challenge unjustified parking tickets.

Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak said: “Millions of us use private car parks every day, but for far too many drivers slapped with unjust fines this largely unregulated industry feels like the Wild West.

“Too often, I hear of awful treatment at the hands of dodgy parking firms, from problems paying for parking to intimidating demands for payment and baffling appeals processes.

“From today, we’re able to cut out the rogue operators by creating a single Code of Practice and giving drivers greater protection through a new appeals service.”

The Government and motoring groups, including the AA and the RAC, back the law changes and will now begin work to write the Code of Practice.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Sir Greg is to be congratulated for his success in uniting MPs and peers alike to deliver the Parking (Code of Practice) Act the private parking industry so clearly needs.

“The Act will tackle an issue which our figures show affects millions of motorists each year.

"We look forward to supporting the Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak as he now moves to put in place the code of practice, appeals and scrutiny mechanisms that the Act provides."

Andrew Pester, British Parking Association chief executive, said: “We are delighted that Sir Greg Knight’s Parking (Code of Practice) Bill has achieved Royal Assent which will deliver our call for a single standard setting body, single code of practice and a single independent appeals service.

“This framework will enable greater consistency and consumer confidence. As a not-for-profit association we will continue to work closely with Government and others, including consumer groups, to help develop a single Code of Practice that provides a fair outcome for motorists, landowners and parking operators alike.”

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “Motorists will warmly welcome this new Act. For too long, some unscrupulous private parking operators have made drivers’ lives a misery with some questionable practices which has sent levels of trust in the sector plummeting.

“The code will create more consistent standards across the board which should eliminate dubious practices and create a single, independent appeals process. The RAC has long called for changes to the way the private parking sector is regulated and this new code will undoubtedly make the lives of drivers easier.”

The Act builds on action the Government has already taken to tackle rogue private parking firms, including banning wheel clamping and towing and stopping over-zealous parking enforcement by councils and parking wardens.

The new regulations will be welcomed by motorists as another line of protection from parking companies who are all too familiar with employing bad practices.

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