A private members’ bill proposing the introduction of tougher car parking regulations, due for debate in the Commons today, enjoys overwhelming support by UK motorists according to RAC research.

The bill, proposed by Sir Greg Knight MP, seeks to enshrine in law new rules and a strict code of practice to defend drivers from underhanded private parking companies.

Out of respondents to the RAC survey, 81% suggested that private parking companies have a bad reputation and, perhaps unsurprisingly, 93% of respondents agreed with the principles of bill.

Responding motorists indicated some of the main perceived flaws of private parking operations:

• 84% suggested that fines are disproportionate in relation to offences• 72% referred to hard-to-read or unclear signage• 69% indicated standard parking fees are too expensive• 66% said that debt collection policies are too aggressive

The bill has received widespread support from Government ministers as well as prominent fleet organisations.

When asked what the bill should deliver, 81% cited the need for further standardisation of the rules regarding provision of clear information and signage, as well as the consequences of not doing so.

78% suggested the need for an independent regulator to enforce an established code of practice, with 74% asking for an upper cap on fines or charges.

In fourth place, the need for a national appeal system for disputing parking charge notices – regardless of the parking operator in question – was supported by 72% of respondents.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC roads policy spokesman, said: “The motorists we questioned expressed very strong views about the practices of private parking companies, presumably based on numerous unfortunate experiences.

“It is excellent news that the Government will support Sir Greg Knight’s bill into law.

“The RAC has long campaigned for such a code to be introduced so we are hopeful this will lead to a better experience for everyone who uses car parks run by private parking companies.

“Importantly, this bill will facilitate a set of national guidelines which we hope will make the appeals’ process simpler, tighten access to the DVLA database and bring higher standards to a sector which clearly has a poor reputation among motorists.”