Government prepares to crack down on rogue parking firms’ ‘cowboy tactics’

Government prepares to crack down on rogue parking firms’ ‘cowboy tactics’
Rules to tackle unfair private parking tickets could be on the way, according to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.

A new Parking Code of Practice and Framework will challenge the methods used by rogue firms and ‘restore common sense’ to the way parking fines are issued.

The initiative, which is out for public consultation, includes a new appeals charter aimed at eliminating fines for motorists who make genuine errors or have mitigating circumstances.

Other measures include a maximum cap for parking fines and a tiered system to differentiate between major and minor offences, with maximum fines for serious offences set to increase.

A 10-minute grace period plus clearly displayed pricing and terms are all part of the plan to curb harsh fines across England, Scotland and Wales.

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Mr Jenrick said the new measures “will put a stop once and for all to rogue parking firms using aggressive tactics and handing out unfair parking tickets with no right to appeal, while also boosting British high streets by making it easier for people to park near their local shops without being unfairly fined.

"Our proposals will restore common sense to the way parking fines are issued, while cracking down on the worst offenders who put other people in danger and hinder our emergency services from carrying out their duties."

Motorists may be able to reduce fines or cancel them entirely thanks to a number of mitigating circumstances for overstaying their parking ticket.

A broken-down vehicle, keying in error, or failure to display a blue badge or permit correctly could see fines cancelled after an appeal.

Meanwhile, a tiered approach will limit fines for less serious offences between £40 to £80, depending on the parking charge system chosen - but both lower than the current £100 cap.

Drivers who wrongly park in disabled or ambulance bays could face an increased levy of £120.

RAC head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes said: “Research from the RAC suggests trust in private parking companies is at rock bottom, so there is little doubt about the need for reform.

“This single code of practice is a promising first step towards a fairer, more transparent system that will ultimately bring better standards for drivers using private car parks, and hopefully spell the end of the worst of the cowboy tactics employed by some operators.”

The new system would be mandatory, unlike existing voluntary ones currently set by the industry.

A separate consultation from the Department for Transport (DfT) could see parking on pavements banned across England.

A similar ban already exists in London and could be extended to give councils the power to fine offenders across the country.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Pavement parking presents a clear safety risk when parked cars occupy the pavement and force vulnerable pedestrians to move into the road.”

The DfT stated that any measures will need to “ensure the free-flow of traffic and access for the emergency services.”

Have you been stung by the 'cowboy tactics' of rogue parking firms before? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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