Rogue parking firms in government firing line

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Drivers set to get new legal protections from unscrupulous private parking operators as government aims to raise industry standards

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Almost 10,000 people approached the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for advice on private parking tickets last year, and evidence shows tickets are on the rise – firms are issuing 13 times more tickets now than a decade ago.

Driver’s complained to the Bureau about inconsistent practices, substandard signage, confusing appeals processes intimidating collection letters.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, announced the government is hoping to put an end to rogue parking firms’ aggressive behaviour by implementing new legal protections. Under the plans, a stringent new Code of Practice will be developed by the Secretary of State in conjunction with motorists groups.

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

These measures, introduced in a Bill by Sir Greg Knight MP, build on action government has already taken to tackle rogue private parking operators, including banning wheel clamping and towing, and over-zealous parking enforcement by councils and parking wardens.

Mr Javid said: “For too long, drivers have suffered from unjust fines at the hands of dodgy parking firms.

“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.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Motorists will be delighted 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.”

Find out more about whether you can avoid paying parking fines with our guide. 

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