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 112.

    Good. now my car won't get clamped for being on my drive - this actually happened!

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

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

    Does this minister live in the real world where peoples lives are made a misery by not being able to park in their own Road due to people parking illegally? This will be a charter for reckless parking - everyone who lives in a town centre beware!

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.


    duh. Never been shopping at a centre owned by the Grosvenor group??

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Beware of the British Parking Association new so-called Independent Appeals Service. It is not independent and has no legal basis for existing or for its decicions. It is an "Industtry Appeals Service" that's all.
    Shame on ASDA, Tescos, B&Q Morrisons and other decent retail brands for using this oppressive extrordinary rendition services provide by BPA parking companies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.


    Legally, you park on private land 'At your own risk'.
    If your car is damaged on private land, there is not much you can do about it

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    5 Minutes ago

    Stop whinging people this is good news. Parking tickets that can be contested is fair and proper.


    Proper maybe, fair? only time will tell. Councils claim to have a fair and proper system but just try to contest one of their parking tickets and see how far you get.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    A far simpler solution would be to reverse the burden of proof - at present an area has to be marked as "no parking" and it is assumed that all other areas are OK to park in. If we reverse that, so we mark areas as "parking" and assume that all other areas are no parking, this would avoid all confusion...

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    As an owner of a property managed by a property management company, we introduced a clamping policy where an unauthorised vehicle parking in the private visitors car park was clearly and visibly warned that the vehicle would be clamped and only released at some unspecified time in the following 48hrs. It took only one vehicle to be clamped before the problem was sorted. Why can't this be allowed?

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    For clarification to all.

    You can:
    *Park on private land and expect not to find your car vandalised or damaged at all. Criminal damage is no excused.
    *Reclaim liquidated damages from parked vehicle owners.

    You can't:
    *Force contracts based on geographical infringement or signs only.
    *Charge penalty charges for use of private land, ie the pay early and save charges are all illegal as above.

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    #2. "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'?"

    No, because it's been made an offence. An offence is a criminal matter, not a civil matter, so the police can act.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    91. Nodger
    My disabled wife and I live in a flat near a popular beach.

    Lucky you. If you don't like it I'm sure you won't have any trouble finding a buyer. Then you can go and live somewhere more suitable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    I was clamped in my own parking spot because I hadn't displayed my parking permit properly! (I hadn't realised that a Tesco receipt was covering the logo of said clamping company) even though the clamping guy said he knew it was my car and I lived there!!!
    I was charged £207 to have the clamp removed.....a HUGE amount and completely unjustified!

  • rate this

    Comment number 100.

    Parking generally is a nightmare. I don't go in to Bolton town centre for fear of opportunistic traffic wardens out to make a quick buck. It's far easier to go to the likes of the Trafford Centre or Middlebrook where you are treated like they actually want your business. No wonder town centres are dying.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    Private land verse's Public land How much can a Private land owner fleece £££'s out of the Public at the same time having their own clamper's at the ready?
    You won't find much Public land in the UK because it's either been brought or is getting brought right now! just another money grabbing idea by no other than your own Government.
    Business as usual until it all comes crashing down on them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    psgm - what has this got to do with a common market? Think you're missing the point rather a lot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    @81. What rights do I have - only expensive private prosecution now.

    If this action is causing you distress and he is made aware that parking on your 'land' is causing you ongoing distress then you may possibly have a remedy via the Harassment Act?

    They might also be in breach of their tenancy /deeds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Cofi in Exile
    That's awful, and trespassing anyway.
    This new legislation does seem to be a step in the right direction

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 94.

    74.newsman face

    Perhaps the establishment takes deliveries out of hours - or for another reason needs access to their own property outside of business hours - perhaps because it is inconvenient during them.
    Your view is a bit narrow and selfish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    It shouldn't just be banned; it should be criminalised.


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