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Government clamps down on rogue parking firms with new Code of Practice

Millions of motorists are set to benefit from a major government crackdown on rogue parking firms which will see fines slashed and a clearer and fairer appeals system created.

A new package of measures announced today (7 February 2022) will protect drivers from unfair and extortionate charges, with a new Code of Practice to help keep cowboy private parking firms in check.

The government’s Parking Code of Practice will see parking fines cut by up to 50 per cent in the majority of cases, saving motorists millions of pounds each year.

The proposals include a maximum cap for parking fines, a ten-minute grace period before a late fine can be issued, and a requirement for parking firms to clearly display pricing and terms and conditions.

In England outside of London and in Wales, charges will be reduced from £100 to £70 or £50, depending on the seriousness of the breach.

Private firms which breach the new code could even be barred from collecting fines from motorists at all.

Currently, private parking firms are able to hide behind non-specific, pseudo-legal and aggressive language when pursuing motorists.

The Code of Practice will provide new higher standards.

Rogue firms which break these rules could be barred from requesting Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data, making them unable to pursue motorists for their charges through the post.

A new, simpler appeals process is also being created, to make it easier for disputed fines to be cancelled.

The measures will be a major boost to millions of motorists in England, Scotland and Wales and will help to draw people back to their local high streets by eliminating the fear of being unfairly caught out.

Minister for Levelling Up, Neil O‘Brien MP said: “Private firms issue roughly 22,000 parking tickets every day, often adopting a system of misleading and confusing signage, aggressive debt collection and unreasonable fees designed to extort money from motorists.

“The new Code of Practice will set out a clear vision with the interests of safe motorists at its heart, while cracking down on the worst offenders who put other people in danger and hinder our emergency services from carrying out their duties.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The RAC has campaigned for years to end the sharp practices in the private parking sector, so we welcome the new national code that will usher in higher standards and will introduce a lower cap on penalty charge notices, an independent appeals system and an end to rip-off debt collection fees.

“This will undoubtedly make drivers’ experience of using private car parks fairer while at the same time force rogue operators to clean up their acts once and for all.”

Edmund King, AA president, 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.

“Drivers should feel confident that having a single Code of Practice and a new Appeals Charter will give them confidence to appeal and be properly heard.

“We are also pleased that honest mistakes, like mistyping the car registration into the machine, will now be automatically cancelled.”

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