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 332.

    I have a plan to eradicate irresponsible parking.

    Pretty much everyone has a camera phone these days, so turn everyone into traffic wardens.

    People could send their pictures of illegally parked cars to the authorities in return for a reward, then the authorities could track down the car's owners & fine them apropriately.

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    who2believe - don't think for a minute that the BPA have any moral standing. Companies like Excel and Parking Eye whose records form interesting reading on the internet, are part of their set up. Read what Watchog said: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/watchdog/2012/04/excel_parking.html
    This is definitely not about parking across someone's drive. It's about tricking motorists and making money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 330.

    about time although the biggest crooks in this area are local authorities, as usual

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    How silly to talk about "motorists" as if they are one body of people with a common behaviour is just plain daft. There are good and bad ones. The real story here is the cowboy clampers whose motivation is that some fat cat somewhere gets bonuses for meeting a "tickets paid" target. Bad parking MUST be penalised, - no question - but in many places enforcement has gone much too far.

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    If I read this correctly then you can appeal against tickets issued by those who register with and abide by the BPA rules but not against the rogues who don't register and abide by the rules. This seems to be a little unfair or to put it another way typical political stupidity as those are the ones who are more likely to be ripping you off.
    Does it also mean you can park in anyone's driveway?

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    James St George, presumably, does not park where he shouldn't

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    James St George, presumably, does not drive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    As an owner of a small restaurant with car park - I am now very worried. This poorly thought through law now opens up my car park to anyone who wants to use it. I now have no control over my own property other than issue parking charges that won't be paid. The thought of being clamped or blocked was a good deterrent. I have never exploited people, and only want to protect my property and business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    We have frequently been denied the use of our cars by people parking across our driveway. We did think about getting a clamp so we could at least get some money back from the idiots for the cost of having our cars out of use. The police could have them towed away by a private company which cost them £300+ to get back,
    Some still do it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    Yes, that's the same 'bloody tourists' who bring money into your region. Perhaps if you provided sufficient car parking at a reasonable price, rather than looking for every opportunity to shaft them, maybe you wouldn't have the problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 322.

    I own a business along side 4 other companies and the land behind our shops is for loading/un-loading and staff parking and we get lazy people who cannot be bothered walking a further 100yds to the 300space free car park. There is a ticketing company that comes now and then and outs a ticket on a car that should not be parked there but they cannot be here all the opening hours of the shops.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    My daughter once got a ticket in the car park of a large office supplies chain after spending £50 in the store on photocupying her dissertation and then popping over the road to post it. We ignored the ticket and threatening letters and nothing more came of it.

    A word in the ear of my employers purchasing department also saw that the £1,000s we spent annually with that company went elsewhere

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.

    About time making a fortune by wheel clamping was stopped. Blackmail.

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    I think it will be interesting to see the first civil cases going to court on this. After all I doubt anyone believes that (non-council) parking enforcement is going to stop overnight, and it's not as if (some - the minority I like to think) people are going to stop parking in places they shouldn't (including but not limited to the stupid and downright dangerous locations some choose)

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    Good point, but still, these companies are out to make a profit. So after these changes either they will disappear or they will still charge enough to cover their costs, however said costs are incurred. I would still be interested to see someone contest this in the courts and see who wins, parking co. or parker.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    @310 - that's one of the changes here. You can't get clamped or towed, but now the tickets are liable to be paid by the registered keeper. Similar to how a speeding ticket works (sent to registered keeper, who can admit fault or nominate another 3rd party as driver). The bonus is that you're not forced (or extorted even) to pay there and then by threat of your car being removed or clamped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    @313 you cannot seperate all parts of your job and charge a fee for each, if you are 'at work' and you have a wage, do you seriousley expect people to pay you extra for , making a phone call, oh yeah, you dont ever use the phone unless you are paid extra. factor in breathing and holding a mouse, for which you never ever do unless pre arranged, and pass them off. read more about contract law

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    To all those who live in flats/apartment blocks and find that others use their designated space - where possible, could you not block the offenders in with your own car, and let them try and find you? That's what I would do in your situation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    Several years ago I lived in a 'residents only' parking area. The residents permits were regularly ignored. A neighbour would go out and remove all the clamps with bolt cutters. Finally, whilst the clampers were busy in the next street, he attatched the clamps to each wheel of their own vehicle, which was parked - guess where? On his own forecourt! He charged them for their removal! Rightly so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 313.

    @312 Gaza
    Youre probably right. I just believe that firms will ask for these costs to be included, if I have to chase someone down for repayment, the costs i incur are not just lost revenue but everything i mentioned in my last post. Personally i would take the view that I should not be out of pocket for this. Anyway, I guess we will see what the law does first time this ever comes to court


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