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 272.

    I've got every sympathy with ordinary people if their parking space and drive are taken by someone. I'm delighted, though, that the private parking cowboys are losing this way of extorting money out of drivers. Just trawl the internet and there's hundreds of stories about their disgusting attempts to get money e.g. a woman helping someone who'd collapsed, people helping a disabled person .........

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    Its about time, I live near Broad Street Birmingham, there's a private car park there which tows away on average 5 cars a day. Theres literally a towing truck which travels there several times a day looking for cars to tow, its a none stop money making business, they block the owner of the car in and demand money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Incidentally, tickets from private parking companies ('PPCs') are only invoices and most of the time not enforceable (especially in the case of free parking up to x hours supermarket car parks).

    If you ever receive a said 'invoice' DO NOT PAY IT. They have no more right to ticket someone than you do. Google the PPC's name and follow the masses of advice in online forums as to what to do next.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    Nickportaloo - I am sorry, but you only said blue badge, not a carers badge. Different ball game altogether.

    As entitled holders of a carers badge, other people have nothing to say. Let them have their faces, you have your son.

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    (1) Parking Charge Notice not a "fine". Just notice of a contractual claim by Parking Co. against car parker.
    (2) Registered owner liable only if Parkg Co. can demonstrate contractual claim entitlement and loss.
    (3) Penalty clauses illegal, so Parking Company's claim cannot exceed damages for provable loss.
    (4) No need to "Appeal". Just put Parkg Co. to strict proof.

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    265.Mayna ..
    Sorry I think you are being a bit naive , it's all about entrapment. Most people make every effort to park legally, in fact that is the number 1 thing I think about before I go anywhere , which is kind of ridiculuous that you need to worry about this because you know that some immoral company want to make money out of a minor indescretion.

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    It is the Lib-dem bit of the coalition that fights for laws like this to support the individual rather than the clampers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    "It is not the so called 'offences' that are the problems in this country. It's the overreactive anti social way they are dealt with "

    No, if the "'offences'" were not committed then their would be no need to deal with them. The error still remains with the driver.


    As above, the origin of the problem comes from the vehicle/driver being in the wrong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    Ah, that I think is where my argument falls down. The man who runs the residents assoc. hires the clampers; theres no mention in our accounts of money coming back so i assuem they do keep it. From memory their signs quote 100 or 120 pouns, I assuem thats covers all their costs, such as patrolling, clamping, getting details from dvla. i know i dotn get any money!

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    I am happy to say that I agree that this new law is the right thing to do. Why should someone have their own car clamped on their own land in the first place? It doesn't make sense at all, I can now park my car on my land without fear of being clamped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    Motorists are seen as fair game by everyone. The number of places to park free of charge or near the place you want to go have dramatically reduced. I'd love to get rid of my car and use public transport, but until it is reliable, quick and reasonably priced I think it's fair to say that most people aren't going to use it. Being clamped/ticketed by these firms is all about them making money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    As with much of current govt. policy, this is an ill thought out piece of headline grab legislation. I pay money to park on private land. If I now cannot because the selfish choose to park their car in that space without a permit, then I shall not be too concerned about any inconenience / damage caused to their wrongfully parked vehicle. As usual from this lot, a law aimed to asist the selfish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    Dear Mayna No. 246.

    It is not the so called "offences" that are the problems in this country. It's the overreactive anti social way they are dealt with by uncompromising, selfish people who are so unimaginative that they can only apply "one solution fits all cases" as answers to social difficulties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    @255 - I don't condone overstaying, the point is that landowners/private parking companies should ask for their loss in the first place - not try to wallop you with legally unenforceable £80+ charges that are dressed up to impersonate official parking fines.

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    1 Hour ago
    Yup. Theres are 3 signs at drivers eye level as you enter the car park. Drop ker to enable residents to enter, no barrier.

    Well that's fair enough - but a good gate gate & padlock would cost you less than paying clampers? - although I expect that most of money what clampers collected stayed with them anyway?

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    #237 Cozyjoker.

    We only use the blue badge to park when our son is with us. He is too young to drive (and couldn't anyway because of his condition). Why do you think the badge was issued in his name? As his parents we are his carers, and we are perfectly entitled to use the badge when he is with us to keep him safe - that is exactly what it was issued for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    This isn't about people parking in your front drive. There are already laws to cover that. It's about getting rid of cowboy clamping organizations extorting money out of people. If my daughter takes a short cut across a private car park it doesn't give someone the right to kidnap her and make ransom demands. It is ridiculous that these thugs have been allowed to get away with it for so long.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    " 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?"

    Is that the moral excuse for misusing parking spaces provided by a third party in good faith?!!! It is for the driver to act fairly and not misuse such space or why should the landowner provide parking at all?

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    What about people like myself. Flat owner with private parking downstairs, which I own leasehold of the space. I am forever not being able to park there as ignorant people decide to ignore the private parking sign. The only deterant I have had is the threat of clamping.....how do I now keep ignorant people from illegally parking on my land/parking space now!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    Clamping was too blunt a deterrent that was abused whilst sometimes levying a disproportionate inconvenience penalty especially to the vulnerable or even an overnight wait.

    However, the current proposal does not appear to be sufficiently transparent, regulated or even fair to landowners and motorists alike.


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