New code to clamp down on rogue car park operators

Drivers are set to benefit from a new car parking code that will include a cap on fines and a more balanced appeal system...

Paying at parking meter

Rogue car park operators will no longer be able to fine drivers extortionate fees in a new ‘Code of Practice’ set out by the Government.

The new legislation, which is an update of the code first introduced in March 2019, includes a range of new measures such as a cap on fines, a 10-minute grace period before a late fine can be issued, and a five-minute cooling-off period for the driver to read the terms and conditions.

In England (outside London) and Wales, fines will be reduced from a maximum of £100 to £70 or £50, depending on the seriousness of the breach. A new appeals process is also being created for fines to be disputed more fairly. 

The code will also require parking firms to display clearer signage with pricing and terms and conditions. 

How to appeal a parking ticket

Currently, parking firms are able to use vague and aggressive legal language to pursue motorists, sometimes unfairly. The latest legislation will help to clarify the law and improve overall standards.

Firms that break the new rules will be banned from requesting data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), thus preventing them from pursuing and contacting motorists for charges.

The updated code also includes a new appeal service and charter that will help to protect drivers who are deemed to be unfairly fined. 

Instances where appeals could apply include an overstay because of a breakdown, a genuine minor error such as mistyping a number plate (on a ticket machine), or a valid ticket or blue badge being displayed incorrectly. 

LT Audi E-tron Sportback exiting car park

RAC research in 2017 found that 73% of drivers wanted the sector to be brought under some form of regulation.

The head of roads policy at the RAC, Nicolas Lyes, welcomed the move, saying the new code will usher in higher standards.

“Since clamping was banned on private land, there has been a shift to ticketing instead, with the number of parking charge notices being issued rising year on year at alarming levels. 

“While some of these are justified, others are not, and sadly in many cases drivers simply pay up in fear of the consequences, particularly given that follow-up letters can use threatening and intimidating language.”

AA president Edmund King said: “These much-needed upgrades to private parking rules will give better protection to drivers. For too long, those caught by private parking firms simply pay the charge to get rid of it. Thankfully, these days are numbered.”

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