Fleets will now have greater protection from fake parking penalties,thanks to a new law designed to tackle private parking firms. Introducing new regulationsfor the private parking industry, the Parking (Code of Practice) Act received RoyalAssent on Friday 15th March.
The Parking (Code of Practice) Bill was a Private MembersBill introduced by Sir Greg Knight MP, supported by the Government. It covers England,Wales, and Scotland.
The law has brought in an industry-backed Code of Practicethat all private parking companies will be required to follow. If they break thiscode, they could be prevented from asking for motorists’ information from theDVLA to enforce the issuing of a parking penalty or ticket.
In addition, it will now be easier for drivers to challenge parkingtickets via a new independent appeals service. This service aims to supportdrivers who face unfair parking tickets, or those with limited justification.
Speaking about the new Parking Act, Local GovernmentMinister, Rishi Sunak said: “Millions of us use private car parks every day,but for far too many drivers slapped with unjust fines this largely unregulatedindustry feels like the Wild West.
“Too often, I hear of awful treatment at the hands of dodgyparking firms, from problems paying for parking to intimidating demands forpayment and baffling appeals processes.
“From today, we’re able to cut out the rogue operators bycreating a single Code of Practice and giving drivers greater protectionthrough a new appeals service.”
Each of the two existing parking trade associations, theBritish Parking Association and the International Parking Community, has a Codeof Practice that their members are required to follow. However, no one set ofrules leaves motorists vulnerable to private parking companies’ bad practicessuch as deliberately poor signage and unfair penalties.
A single code is intended to set a higher standard acrossthe sector, especially in the area of appeals. The new Code of Practice will bedrafted later this year with industry stakeholders.
The Secretary of State will have the power to raise a levyon the sector to fund the production, publishing and enforcement of the code,plus cover the costs of appointing and maintaining a single appeals service.
The RAC has previously asked for the way the private parkingsector is regulated to be changed. Nicholas Lyes, Head of Roads Policy, said:“For too long, some unscrupulous private parking operators have made drivers’lives a misery with some questionable practices which has sent levels of trustin the sector plummeting.
“The code will create more consistent standards across theboard which should eliminate dubious practices and create a single, independentappeals process.
“The Act builds on action the government has already takento tackle rogue private parking firms, including banning wheel clamping andtowing and stopping over-zealous parking enforcement by councils and parkingwardens.”
Writing the Code of Practice will be a collaborative processbetween motoring groups, the Government, the AA, and the RAC, all of whom have backedthe changes to the law.
Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: “SirGreg is to be congratulated for his success in uniting MPs and peers alike todeliver the Parking (Code of Practice) Act the private parking industry soclearly needs.
“The Act will tackle an issue which our figures show affectsmillions of motorists each year.
“We look forward to supporting the local government ministerRishi Sunak as he now moves to put in place the code of practice, appeals andscrutiny mechanisms that the Act provides.”
Chief Executive of the British Parking Association, AndrewPester, added: “This framework will enable greater consistency and consumerconfidence.
“As a not-for-profit association we will continue to workclosely with government and others, including consumer groups, to help developa single Code of Practice that provides a fair outcome for motorists,landowners and parking operators alike.”