Private parking provisions still not put into practice15 Mar 2024

No action after five years

Five years on from the introduction of a law to help protect drivers when they park on private land and still none of the provisions have been introduced.

On 15 March 2019, the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill was enacted paving the way for the introduction of a single code of practice for car park management companies alongside the creation of an independent appeals service and scrutinty body.

However, none of the measures allowed for in the bill are yet in place and parking firms are continuing to issue record numbers of ‘tickets’ to drivers accused of parking infringements on private land.

An average of more than 35,000 parking tickets are being dished out by private companies every day.

RAC Foundation of officials data shows that at least 9.7 million tickets were issued to drivers by private parking companies in Britain between April and December last year.

This is based on the number of vehicle keeper requests parking firms make to the DVLA.

The firms use the information to send drivers demands for up £100 a time.

The number of vehicle keeper requests is used as a proxy for the number of tickets being handed out to drivers supposedly breaking parking regulations in places such as shopping centres, leisure facilities and motorway service areas.

At the current rate, at least 12.93 million tickets could be issued in the year to the end of March, up from 11.05 million in the previous 12 months.

At least 32.2 million tickets have been issued by private companies in Britain since the legislation was passed.

Private parking businesses have been accused of using misleading and confusing signs, aggressive debt collection and unreasonable fees.

The code of practice allowed for in the legislation was originally laid before Parliament in February 2022 and due to come into force across Britain by the end of 2023.

It included halving the cap on tickets for most parking offences to £50, creating a fairer appeals system, higher standards for signage and banning the use of aggressive language on tickets.

But the code was withdrawn by the Government in June 2022 following a legal challenge by parking companies and has not been reintroduced.

A new call for evidence run by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) closed on October 8 last year.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“Since March 2019 many things have happened. The five years have seen us through four prime ministers, a pandemic, and a cost-of-living crisis.

“But what we’ve not seen is the implementation of the protections, MPs were queuing up to support when the Parking (Code of Practice) Act made its way onto the statute book all those years ago.

“Ministers would do well to consider how their performance looks to the many millions of drivers who’ve been issued with a ticket since the law was enacted.

“What’s needed is a swift dose of hurry-up treatment in this election year if those voters are not to be left feeling badly let down.”

Some 185 parking management businesses requested vehicle keeper records between April and December in 2024.

The DVLA charges private companies £2.50 per record.



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 07711 776448

Notes to editors:

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

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