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Government to clamp down on unscrupulous parking firms

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
A code of practice will be developed to tackle rogue private parking firms, as complaints over poor signage and intimidating payment letters has increased.

Nearly 10,000 people approached charity Citizen’s Advice Bureau for advice on private parking tickets last year. It comes as figures reveal parking firms are issuing almost 13 times more tickets than a decade ago.

According to the RAC Foundation, it expects six million tickets will be issued in 2018 by firms operating on private land, up from the 4.7 million in 2017.

Drivers are also complaining more on inconsistent practices, poor signage, confusing appeals processes and intimidating payment letters.

As such, the government is aiming to raise standards in the private parking industry by introducing a code of practice which will be developed by the Secretary of State along with motorist groups.

Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, confirmed those private parking firms falling foul of the rules would be blocked from accessing driver data and issuing fines, “effectively forcing them out of the industry”, he said.

In the second quarter of 2017/18, 1.4 million vehicle-keeper records were sold to private parking firms to issue tickets. This was 1,177% – or almost 13 times – higher than the 111,944 records sold a decade earlier in the second quarter of 2007 to 2008.

The Secretary of State would also have the power to raise a levy on the sector to fund the production, publishing and enforcement of the code.

Javid, added: “For too long drivers have suffered from unjust fines at the hands of dodgy parking firms.

“We need a fairer, clearer and more consistent system that brings the small minority of unscrupulous operators in line with those who are behaving appropriately.

“That is why government is putting the brakes on these rogue operators and backing new laws that will put a stop to aggressive behaviour and provide a simpler way for drivers to appeal fines.”

The bill is expected to receive its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday 2 February.

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