Private land clampers to be banned

Motoring groups have hailed a decision to ban wheel clampers from operating on private land.

Ministers are rolling out plans to revoke more than 2,000 existing clamping licenses in England and Wales in a bid to eradicate the "scourge" of rogue clampers, who often charge extortionate release fees.

While MOTs,car insurance and road tax are unavoidable expenditures for car owners, paying out for release fees is often seen as a bitter pill to swallow for many motorists who have appealed in their droves for Government intervention to punish clampers.

The ban could be implemented as early as next year and would bring England and Wales in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which have much stricter clamping regulations.

Equalities and criminal information minister Lynne Featherstone said enforcing an outright ban on private land clamping, thought to be worth £1 billion a year, would vindicate the thousands of motorists who fall foul of so-called cowboy clampers every year.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, added: "For too long unscrupulous clampers have managed to extort money from essentially law-abiding motorists, punishing them for their so-called crimes.

"At last that is going to stop and there will be many who will breathe a sigh of relief after years of outrageous behaviour."

Anybody found flouting the law and operating on private land in the future will face heavy fines or even a prison sentence, while clamping duties will exclusively fall within the jurisdiction of police and local councils and even then, will only be used in exceptional circumstances.

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