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Private parking fines to be capped at £50

Written by: Emma Lunn
The government has announced plans to crackdown on ‘cowboy’ parking firms with a cap on fines and a new appeals system.

Under the proposals most parking fines will be capped at £50, down from the current maximum of £100. However, operators will still be allowed to levy higher penalties for more serious breaches such as parking in ‘Blue Badge’ bays if you don’t have a badge.

Parking private operators which don’t follow the rules could be barred from collecting fines from motorists. This would be done by blocking them from requesting vehicle owners’ details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The overhaul of the rules follows years of complaints about unfair and extortionate charges.

Minister for Levelling Up Neil O’Brien said: “Private firms issue roughly 22,000 parking tickets every day, often adopting a system of misleading and confusing signage, aggressive debt collection and unreasonable fees designed to extort money from motorists.

“Our new Code of Practice will set out a clear vision with the interests of safe motorists at its heart, while cracking down on the worst offenders.”

There will also be a requirement for parking firms to clearly display pricing and terms and conditions in a bid to end firms hiding behind “non-specific, pseudo-legal and aggressive language when pursuing motorists”. The code also includes a 10-minute grace period before a late fine can be issued.

Drivers who make innocent mistakes, such as mistyping a registration number into a ticket machine or having a valid ticket but failing to display it correctly, will be let off fines.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “For too long, those caught by private parking firms simply pay the charge to get rid of it. Thankfully these days are numbered. Drivers should feel confident that having a single Code of Practice and a new Appeals Charter will give them confidence to appeal and be properly heard.

“We are also pleased that honest mistakes, like mistyping the car registration into the machine, will now be automatically cancelled.”

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “The RAC has campaigned for years to end the sharp practices in the private parking sector, so we welcome the new national code that will usher in higher standards.

“This will undoubtedly make drivers’ experience of using private car parks fairer while at the same time force rogue operators to clean up their acts once and for all.”

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