Private Parking Code of Practice set to be withdrawn – what does it mean for UK drivers?

Private Parking Code of Practice set to be withdrawn – what does it mean for UK drivers?

The RAC has learned that the Private Parking Code of Practice, designed to end some of the worst practices in the private parking sector and protect drivers, has been withdrawn.

The code, which was initially announced in February, and was part of a government plan to cap private parking fines to £50 – down from £100. Fines up to £100 would only remain for those who parked in Blue Badge bays without a badge.

It was also introduced to create a fairer appeal system and help UK drivers by providing a grace period for lateness in paying any fine. Any fine paid within two weeks of being issues would get a 50% discount.

Under the initial announcement, private car park operators who went against these rules would be barred from collecting any fines from motorists.

In February, Minister for Levelling Up Neil O'Brien 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."

Following the initial announcement, the RAC welcomed the launch of the code, after years of campaigning for a fairer system for drivers.

The RAC had called on the Government to act after being contacted by drivers who felt the actions of private parking companies were entirely unreasonable.

However, the Private Parking Code of Practice is now temporarily withdrawn pending review of the levels of private parking charges and additional fees.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The new private parking code of practice was designed specifically to make things fairer for drivers and end some of the worst practices in the sector. It’s deeply disappointing that the code has been temporarily withdrawn which now almost certainly means yet more delays in it being introduced. Drivers have a right to feel infuriated.

“The fact that parking companies take issue with the capping of charge notices and debt recovery fees shows precisely why both the code and the cap are needed.

“For too long, some companies have been allowed to prey mercilessly on drivers who might make an honest mistake and then have to face both over-zealous enforcement and threatening debt recovery letters. The Government must stand up to these companies and get the code over the line so we finally have fair and transparent enforcement in the private parking sector.”

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