Ministers back parking firm clamp down29 Jan 2018

Government to support MP's legislation

The RAC Foundation has welcomed news that the government will support proposed legislation to protect drivers from unscrupulous private parking companies.

Ministers have thrown their weight behind the private members’ bill introduced by Sir Greg Knight MP.

If the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill becomes law it will allow for a stringent new Code of Practice will be developed by the Secretary of State in conjunction with motorists groups and other experts.

Those falling foul of the rules would then be blocked from accessing vehicle keeper data from DVLA and issuing fines, effectively forcing them out of the industry.

Evidence shows that, in total, nearly 10,000 people approached the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for advice on private parking tickets last year and parking firms are issuing almost 13 times more tickets than decade ago.

Analysis by the RAC Foundation suggests that in the 2017/18 financial year six million tickets are likely to be issued by firms operating on private land. This is up from 4.7 million in 2017.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Motorists will be delighted that the Government is throwing its weight behind Sir Greg Knight’s move to bring some much needed regulatory rigour to the world of private parking.

“We all hoped the ban on clamping would end the sharp practices that had come to plague private parking, but the fact that companies are issuing millions of penalty tickets annually is clear evidence that something is still going badly awry.

“Drivers don’t want a parking free-for-all, but they do want a system that is fair to all parties and that’s what a code of practice set by Government – rather than the industry itself – should bring about.”

Secretary of State for Communities, Sajid Javid, said: “For too long drivers have suffered from unjust fines at the hands of dodgy parking firms.

“We need a fairer, clearer and more consistent system that brings the small minority of unscrupulous operators in line with those who are behaving appropriately.

“That is why Government is putting the brakes on these rogue operators and backing new laws that will put a stop to aggressive behaviour and provide a simpler way for drivers to appeal fines.”

Industry bodies have lined up to support the Bill, which will receive its Second Reading in the House of Commons on Friday (2 February).

Andrew Pester, Chief Executive of the British Parking Association, said:

“We welcome Sir Greg’s Bill that aims to drive consistency and fairness in the private parking sector.  Our membership already complies with a robust Code of Practice which we continuously seek to improve through consultation.

“A single, mandatory code of practice across the whole sector is important to ensure that unscrupulous providers don’t undermine the parking sector with bad practice. As the leading authority in the sector we shall continue to work closely with Government and key stakeholders to press for progress towards a positive outcome for all.”

At present, there are two parking trade associations, the British Parking Association (BPA) and the International Parking Community (IPC). Each has a Code of Practice that their members are required to abide by. A single code is intended to set a higher standard for practices across the sector, especially in the area of appeals against parking tickets.

ENDS

Contact:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

philip.gomm@racfoundation.org | 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: www.racfoundation.org