The Home Office is considering proposals that will clamp down on rogue clamping firms.
Currently, anyone undertaking wheel clamping must hold a frontline licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and supervisors or directors need a non-frontline licence.
The new proposals would make it mandatory for the clamping company itself to be licensed, to ensure it upholds standards of conduct. These standards would be enforced if they were not met.
The aim is to put a stop to 'dodgy practices' such as:
- Excessive release penalties for clamped cars
- Towing cars unreasonably quickly after they have been clamped
- Hidden, missing or confusing signs warning of clamping
- A lack of an appeals process for drivers
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: 'There are clearly a minority of clamping companies indulging in unacceptable behaviour, including unclear signage and excessive fees.
'That is why we intend to look carefully at how we can introduce a scheme for compulsory licensing of clamping companies, and we will publish proposals shortly.'
The AA claims that the vast majority of MPs back the proposals. Edmund King, AA President, said: '86% of MPs think that wheel clamping on private land in England and Wales should either be outlawed or more tightly regulated, according to a poll of 100 MPs.
'We have reached the end of the road on reining in the antics of unscrupulous wheel clampers whose immoral excesses are reported to us almost daily.'