Wheel-clamping on private land banned

A wheel clamped car The government says the new legislation will save motorists £55m a year in clamping charges

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Wheel-clampers have been outlawed from clamping vehicles on private land under new legislation in England and Wales.

The Protection of Freedoms Act makes it an offence to clamp on private land.

The law does not affect Northern Ireland, and clamping and towing away on private land has been banned in Scotland since 1992.

But landowners are boosted by stronger laws on ticketing, which mean unpaid charges can be claimed from the keeper of the vehicle, as well as the driver.

And the government has also agreed on an independent appeals service funded by the British Parking Association (BPA).

This will allow motorists to appeal against a parking charge issued on private land by a company that is a member of the BPA's approved operator scheme.

Start Quote

An independent appeals service which is not binding on all operators is likely to be a recipe for confusion among motorists”

End Quote Patrick Troy British Parking Association

Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the Home Office minister responsible for changes to vehicle clamping law, said: "This common-sense ban will give motorists the protection they deserve against rogue wheel-clamping and towing companies.

"It will save motorists £55m each year in clamping charges and finally penalise the real criminals - the corrupt firms themselves."

Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said: "These new parking arrangements deliver a fairer legal framework for motorists and landowners, while getting rid of the indiscriminate clamping and towing by private companies for good."

By-law loophole

But the AA and the BPA have both said the new measures do not go far enough, expressing concern over a lack of protection from rogue parking operators.

New wheel clamping laws

  • Motorists whose vehicles are illegally clamped on private land can now call the police
  • The government says about 500,000 clampings took place annually on private land, with an average release fee of £112 and almost all clamp fees were paid
  • Ban also applies to towing away and blocking in
  • Anyone who clamps a vehicle or tows it away on private land without specific lawful authority to do so may face criminal proceedings
  • Lawful authority to clamp or tow vehicles will remain for various organisations and public bodies - eg DVLA will retain legal authority to clamp or tow away vehicles that evade vehicle excise duty

A BPA spokesman also said there may be continuing issues for motorists because of little known by-laws giving landowners the right to manage their parking in any way they choose. These include some car parks at railway stations, airports and port authorities.

And the AA has concerns that rogue operators may begin issuing bogus parking tickets on private land.

BPA chief executive Patrick Troy said: "The Protection of Freedoms Act ushers in perhaps the most significant shake-up of the private parking industry ever seen in this country and there is much that we and the government can be proud of.

"However, the regulations do not yet go far enough. An independent appeals service which is not binding on all operators is likely to be a recipe for confusion among motorists and a ban on clamping is no substitute for proper regulation of the industry.

"That being said, the new appeals service, such as it is, will provide a long-overdue layer of protection for motorists who want to know that they no longer have to look to the courts for recourse when they feel that a parking enforcement notice has been unfairly issued."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    That's one set of scamming bully boys sorted.
    Next step- look at the tactics of the Debt Collection agencies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    Great news. But I'm not sure it includes towing - does anyone know? A piece of unused brown field land in my town has just had the clamping signs all replacement with 'Tow Away Zone' signs. It looks like the same company with the same branding on the signs, just replaced the words 'Clamping' with 'Tow Away Zone'. I somehow feel they've found a loophole already!

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    For the most part isn't the 'parking problem' another vestage of the ineptitude of local government?

    Their warped views about 'green issues' dictate insufficient parking in our city centres - hence extortionate prices and huge profits for private car parks.
    Isn't it about time that our councils started doing what the majority want - provide more parking spaces.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    At the end of the day if you refuse to pay a parking ticket issued on private land the only remedy the landowner has is to take you to court and then they can only sue you for the amount they have lost. That is the parking fee not the parking ticket.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    The BPA is a private members club funded and run by those who issue impersonation of authority parking tickets,
    The BPA claimed to MP'S that 15,000 + cases a year are taken to court for non payment.
    A freedom of information request showed this to be 84 cases,
    Now 15,000 and 84 is not a simple maths mistake, it is a deliberate misleading of MP's to change law for monetary benefit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    It's not quite true to say that wheel clamping was banned in Scotland in 1992: what happened that year was a High Court case where the court had to consider whether a specific type of conduct - wheel clamping - fell within the already existing and ancient common law offence of theft. The court said it did, and in so doing it was merely clarifying that that was what the law had always been.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    33. Sproutaholic maybe, our council agreed to paint white H markings across drives last year - the local school has a traffic problem. Most of the homeowners said no! BUT - cars on these marks can only be ticketed if the car stays there for 24 hours - not much use for the peaks. I have pictures of cars parked totally on the pavement across drives. and driving on gardens isnt knownown either.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    Good luck with that. I live in flats next to a mainline station. We have private parking and until we bought in clampers, everyone using the station thought our car park was a cheap alternative for them. If I cant park my car and have to drive somewhere else to park, it will cost me a lot more than £1, and I will (legally) be after whoever parked in my space.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    Or better still, go shopping online and don't give these parasites the chance to get you at all.

    I doubt this will save dying high streets. Council traffic wardens are the worst of all - patrolling dead car parks looking to hammer motorists who are 5 mins over their time. Until this attitude changes I will avoid town and city centres as much as possible.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Why should property owners not be able to punish those who park on their land? There are double yellow lines on the road outside my house so there's no parking and some of these idiots have been known to open my gate, drive in and park up in my drive, now forcing me to use a padlock and chain. There are a lot of people out there with no respect for private property. Retrograde move IMO.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    I can understand worries about car parks on private land open to the public. But surely a private car park not open to the public, or any private land not open to the general public should still be allowed to levy whatever fines or sanctions they see fit. Would not be a problem if the police actually upheld the law of trespass and did it speedily. At present it gets ignored by the police.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    38. paulmerhaba
    Why would you park on private land?

    Perhaps as near me, the pub has an empty car park the size of a football field and, now that nobody can afford their ludicrous beer prices, has been trying to supplement their income by clamping the cars of people using the local shops? Now they will only be able to charge you what they have lost by you parking, which is nothing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Good news on the whole, but I just hope that the new rules allow for penalties to be enforced against the arrogant morons who abuse disabled parking spaces in supermarket and shopping centre car parks.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    This is great... not a single person commenting on this seems to know what they're talking about. You all seem to think that private land extends only as far as illegally parking on someone else's property - it doesn't!! It covers car parks that shops provide for their customers, the sort where you might see "Parking for patrons only - non-patrons will be clamped" THAT'S why this is important.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Yes , many of the clamping companies are nothing short of a bunch of thugs and they need bringing to book. However , why do so many people think they have the right to park their cars on land that does not belong to them ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    The root cause of the parking problem is that there are 32,000,000 cars packed into these small islands and trying to park in towns and cities that were built by the Victorians when there were no cars on the roads. Therefore there are not enough parking spaces for all these cars. People should use public transport which would avoid any parking hassle.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    "So what happens when someone is still inevitably clamped on private land? A call to the police, to be advised 'we cannot act on civil matters'?"

    To which you respond by saying "it is not a civil matter, it is a criminal offence under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, Section 54 para 1a, haven't you seen the news?"


  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    I'm just gunna park in places where I usually park as I will end up doing something wrong and get clamped

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    With any changes we need to be aware of the old adages, that the devil is in the detail and the rule of unintented consquences. Too often good intentions become corrupted and misinterpreted for the benefit of the malicious and the venal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    It seems to me that again the government has missed the point. Yes people need protection from irresponsible parkers but people also need protection from cowboy clampers who extort money with menaces.

    The point that needed to be addressed was the clampers (not the clamping)...there should have been clearly defined rules and criminal prosecution/fines/jail for breach of the rules!


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