Clampers search for Christmas bonus 28 Dec 2009

NO BARGAINS FOR MOTORISTS CLAMPED DURING THE CHRISTMAS SALES

The number of people holding wheel clamping licences has actually increased since the Government consulted on ways to control the industry earlier this year.

And unwary drivers who park in the wrong place, even for just a few minutes, could find that any money they save in the winter sales ends up in the hands of unscrupulous clampers.

Official figures show there are currently some 2100 individuals licenced to clamp, up from 1200 in March 2008 and 1900 in April 2009 when the Home Office launched its vehicle immobilisation consultation.

The RAC Foundation director, Professor Stephen Glaister, said:

“There will be little festive cheer for bargain hunters if they put a wheel wrong when it comes to parking.”

“The figures reveal more and more people are becoming clampers because the business is so lucrative and the law surrounding it so lax. And on top of those who hold official licences, we know there are others who operate without a licence.”

“With charges for being clamped and towed often running into several hundred pounds, cowboy clampers will be out in force during the sales, on the lookout for motorists who leave their car in the wrong place even for a few minutes.”

“The huge rise in licence holders proves the Government needs to act quickly. It has promised a cap on fees, an independent appeals service and a binding code of conduct. In 2010 it needs to deliver.”

The RAC Foundation is urging drivers to be extra careful over the festive period and to check parking arrangements before they head for the shops, and to consider options like park and ride.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – 07711 776448 pgomm@racfoundation.co.uk

The RAC Foundation explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and the use of motor vehicles, and campaigns to secure a fair deal for responsible road users.

The Security Industry Authority (SIA) currently licences individuals to allow them to carry out wheel clamping on private property.

In the 2009 Queen’s Speech the Government announced it would impose further regulation on the industry using powers in the current Crime and Security Bill. The Government is committed to:

“Introducing a compulsory licensing scheme for all wheel clamping businesses, limiting the size of penalties imposed, regulating towing practices and putting in place an effective and fair appeals process.”

The British Parking Association operates a voluntary code of conduct for its members, though not all clampers are members of the BPA and the code has no force in law.

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