Duncan Lewis


Asylum, Detention/ Fast Track

Managed Migration, Public Law

A new legislation would bar wheel clampers from clamping vehicles on private land in England and Wales

Date: (1 October 2012)    |    

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The Protection of Freedoms Act makes it an offence to clamp on private land.
The law does not affect Northern Ireland and clamping and towing away on private land has been banned in Scotland since 1992.
But landowners were boosted by stronger laws on ticketing, which would mean unpaid charges can be claimed from the keeper of the vehicle, as well as the driver.
And the government has also agreed on an independent appeals service funded by the British Parking Association (BPA).
This will allow motorists to appeal against a parking charge issued on private land by a company that is a member of the BPA's approved operator scheme.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the Home Office Minister responsible for changes to vehicle clamping law, said the ban would give motorists the protection they deserve against rogue wheel-clamping and towing companies.
This would save motorists £55m each year in clamping charges and finally penalise the real criminals, the corrupt firms themselves.
Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said that this new parking arrangements was going to deliver a fairer legal framework for motorists and landowners, while getting rid of the indiscriminate clamping and towing by private companies for good.
But the AA and the BPA have both said the new measures do not go far enough, expressing concern over a lack of protection from rogue parking operators.
A BPA spokesman also said there may be continuing issues for motorists because of little known by-laws giving landowners the right to manage their parking in any way they choose. These include some car parks at railway stations, airports and port authorities.
And the AA has concerns that rogue operators may begin issuing bogus parking tickets on private land.
BPA chief executive Patrick Troy said that The Protection of Freedoms Act guides the most significant shake-up of the private parking industry ever seen in this country and that there was much that to be proud of.
However, the regulations do not yet go far enough. An independent appeals service which was not binding on all operators was likely to be more confusing as just banning of clamping was no substitute for proper regulation of the industry.
But still the new appeals service would provide some protection for motorists who wish to see that they don’t have to take courts recourse when they feel that parking enforcement notice has been unfairly issued.