A new compulsory licensing scheme should help drive rogue clampers out of business.
Proposals in the Crime and Security Bill, set out today, will make it obligatory for all wheel-clamping businesses to have a licence and follow a code of conduct.
Code of conduct
The strict code will include a limit on fines and time limits to stop cars being towed away unreasonably soon after being clamped.
Clear instructions will be issued for the signage that will warn drivers that clamping takes place in the area.
Firms will have to provide evidence that a parking infringement has taken place, and an independent complaints and appeals process will be introduced for motorists who feel unfairly penalised.
Companies that breach the terms of the licence could lose their right to practise, and face up to five years in prison or a substantial fine.
Ministers committed to stamping out abuse
Home Office minister Alan Campbell, said: 'There is no room within the wheel-clamping industry for those who indulge in unacceptable behaviour including unclear signage and excessive fees.'
Transport minister Sadiq Khan said: 'These tough new proposals are part of a series of measures the Government is putting in place to tackle the scourge of rogue parking firms who harass and intimidate motorists.'
The legislation has been drawn up after discussions with motoring organisations, industry representatives and after a 12-week public consultation over the summer.
The scheme will be administered and controlled by the Security Industry Authority, which regulates the private security industry in Great Britain.
Currently only individuals involved in clamping are required to be licensed. The new powers will extend the licensing arrangements to businesses.