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 252.

    This isn't going to do anything to stop the corrupt companies who put up small signage sending people charges. At the end of the day if you want to charge for parking you have to restrict access and give tickets with time stamps, this idea of public street charges has just gotten out of hand.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    Why should privet individuals have less protection then the council? Either ban it completely or allow privet people the same protection.
    I had some trouble with people parking in my space outside my flat in a private car park - they only stopped when I threatened them with a clamp.
    Will the police now protect my property?

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Complaints about not being able to stop rogue parking are ridiculous - just an excuse for money making and extortion by crooks. Simple solution: buy a chain, bollards, gate etc. to stop those who shouldn't be parking where they shouldn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    I once gave two hours to volunteering for disabled people then parked in Cockermouth Cumbria. Inadvertently (honest), I put the incorrect time on my disc. Allerdale Council wouldn't even go to the trouble of ringing up the school I was helping to ascertain I could not possibly have been in Cockermouth at the time of the so called "offence".They couldn't have shown less caring.Officialdom urghh!

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    @243 there's possibly nothing to stop them - but the landowner would have to be the litigant, and all they are entitled to is their loss, *not* the ridiculous "fines" (which aren't fines at all). If the car park is free, that loss is zero. If you have overstayed by an hour, and the charges are 50p an hour, that loss is 50p. How many landowners will bother going to court for that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Fantastic news for the bullied harrassed motorist. As for Private Parking Tickets you dont have to pay them, unless they want to take you to court which means effort and an outlay for them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    "Only in a country without standards, values and morals"

    Which party does this apply too, it could equally be either? To say the clamper is immoral for wanting payment you also need to consider that the driver may be trying to avoid payment (or chose to park inappropriately or without consideration).

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    Parking is the curse of property management from external people and unbelievably your own tenants. Without a deterrent it is impossible to prevent misuse. The cowboy practice I would definitely frown on but with good signage and in house warnings there is no reason not to clamp. On my estate we changed contractors and in 6mths we only clamped once.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    I was once clamped in the time it took from getting out of my car to collecting a permit in a flat and getting back to the car as part of my job, of course I did not have to pay the fine in the end but it took over a year and some stress to get off a non-offence. I support anything that disrups this mafia including violence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    @236 Is there anything to stop the PPC representing the landowner, preparing and presenting the case to the court, and then recieving a payment from the landowner for successfully concluding the parking infringement?

    In short, there is now a legally enforceable route for the money to flow from the motorist to the PPC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    And about time to, you have to wonder about how England is run. England seems to be run for the benefit of every swindler and cheat going - so much so that I've looked enviously at Scotland and Wales for years. Ashamed of Britain. Low moral standards, and a culture of kicking down decent people everywhere and helping the dishonest to thrive, dominate and bring down others.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    @228.Does this law mean that I cannot do anything to prevent him ?

    @233. Realistically, there's nothing I can do about it.

    Posting 97 might very well assist......

    Read up on the Harassment Act (criminal law), make sure the neighbour knows they are causing you distress, keep an accurate log preferably with time-dated photos and play it by the book!

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    I have four parking spaces that I use for my business and have continual problems with people who think they can park where they like without any consideration for the effect on my business. I have never clamped but am fed up of abuse when I tell them to park else where.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    Only in a country without standards, values and morals would the public be unprotected from a greed driven, profit obsessed, stop at nothing bunch of villainous rogues such as wheel clampers.They are atypically companies led by ex convicts who are nothing but bandits. You can't blame criminals for trying it on as much as they can. You can blame successive governments that let them do so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    #63 Cofi in Exile
    I agree with what you said. However, I was clamped when I parked on a vacant space near a restaurant in a town I did not know. No lines, just a tiny sign placed in a difficult to see location. I was made to wait for an hour, with a 12 month old, at night to pay £100. In retro I could have taken the wheel off and slung their clamp in the bin. Happy these thugs lost their business

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    Nickportaloo - "whenever we use his blue badge to park".

    The blue badge is for your son, not yourselves. Who, with his condition would not be able to drive. You would need to apply for a Carers Parking Permit. This however, only allows you to park as marked on the permit. It would not allow you to park anywhere else, not even pay & display bays.

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    @230 - in most cases the private parking company will not be legally entitled to the money, as they will not own the land. Unfortunately stories like @221 are all too familiar, and don't believe for a minute the BPA will be impartial - they don't just represent the dodgy parking companies, they *are* the dodgy parking companies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    This new law has been introduced because member of Westminster Dictatorship Club's car clampped recently. Things only change in Britian when Westminster Dictatorship Club member is hurt.

  • rate this

    Comment number 234.

    Another " me and my car are perfect" set of rants.

    It really is simple, follow the rules and you won't get penalised. Break the rules, get caught and you will be penalised.

    Just how difficult is that for people to grasp?

    Just like speed cameras etc.

    Brain cells can work if you want them to!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 233.

    The law still doesn't help people who regularly find strangers parking on their land. This happens almost everywhere that parking restrictions apply. I live in a flat and have a designated parking space. Some neighbours feel that it's fine to use my parking space for their visitors even though it's illegal. Realistically, there's nothing I can do about it. Police don't intervene in civil disputes.


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