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New code of practice for private parking industry

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Written by: Emma Lunn
04/11/2019
The code could give motorists a 10-minute grace period in private car parks and make it easier for drivers to challenge unfair parking tickets.

The British Standards Institution is to develop a new code of practice for the private parking industry.

The standards body will consider making it a mandatory requirement across Britain to give all drivers a 10-minute grace period after their tickets expire.

The government is also proposing to crackdown on aggressive debt collection in the private parking industry in England, Scotland and Wales.

The proposals were announced by local government secretary Robert Jenrick MP and aim to bring greater regulation to the British private parking industry.

A 10-minute grace period was introduced for all council car parks in England in 2015, but is currently voluntary for private parking firms. Under measures being considered, all private car parks in England, Scotland and Wales will have to give motorists up to 10 minutes before issuing a late fine.

Extra measures to crackdown on intimidating and aggressive debt collection practices by private parking companies will also be considered as part of the code.

Unlike existing voluntary codes set by industry, the new code will be mandatory and provide a single set of rules to follow. Rogue firms which break the code will be barred from requesting Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data, making them unable to pursue motorists for their charges.

Robert Jenrick, local government secretary, said: “For too long rogue parking firms have operated in an unregulated industry, handing out unjust fines, putting drivers through baffling appeals processes and issuing tickets to motorists who were only seconds late back to their cars.

“That’s why we’ve appointed the British Standards Institution to work with consumer groups and industry to write the first ever compulsory code of practice for private parking firms.

“The new code will restore common sense to the way parking fines are handed out, encourage people back onto our high-streets and crack down on dodgy operators who use aggressive tactics to harass drivers.”

The Code is also set to introduce a new independent appeals service, giving drivers greater support to challenge unjustified parking tickets.

The British Standards Institution will write the code in consultation with consumer and industry groups. It will launch a full public consultation on the code where all members of the public will be able to have their say on the new rules.

The Parking (Code of Practice) Act became law in March 2019 and builds on action the government has already taken to tackle rogue private parking firms, including banning wheel clamping and towing and stopping over-zealous parking enforcement by councils and traffic wardens.

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