A new law is being introduced to regulate private parking companies and protect drivers from unfair fines.
The Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2017-19, which has been given Royal Assent, will see private parking companies subjected to a new Code of Practice which aims at making the industry more consistent, transparent and easy to understand.
Private parking firms who breach the code could be punished by being barred from asking the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) for motorists’ details, making it much harder for them to enforce fines.
In addition, the Act will see the introduction of an independent appeals service, which drivers can use to challenge unjustified parking tickets.
Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak MP said: “For far too many drivers slapped with unjust fines, this largely unregulated industry feels like the Wild West.”
Sunak expressed his sympathy for drivers who face “awful treatment at the hands of dodgy parking firms”, condemning rogue companies for making “intimidating demands for payment” and having “baffling appeals processes”. He added that the act would “cut out rogue operators” and give drivers “greater protection”.
Already, the Act has won the backing of a number of motoring groups, including the AA and RAC. These organisations will now help the Government write the Code of Practice.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, commented: “For too long, some unscrupulous private parking operators have made drivers’ lives a misery with some questionable practices, which sent levels of trust in the sector plummeting.
He added: “The code will create more consistent standards across the board, which should eliminate dubious practices and create a single, independent appeals process.”
Andrew Pester, chief executive of the British Parking Association, said the Act would “enable greater consistency and consumer confidence”, adding that his organisation would work to provide “a fair outcome for motorists, landowners and parking operators alike”.
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