Private parking fines to be capped at £50 in England as part of government crackdown
Prices will also have to be displayed more clearly, and a fairer appeal system and a a 10-minute grace period for lateness will also be introduced.
The government has announced that the majority of fines issued by private operators will be cut by up to 50% as part of a new crackdown on “cowboy” firms.
Under a new parking code of practice, which is being introduced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the maximum fine allowed to be issued by private car parking firms will be reduced from £100 to £50 for most cases in England and Wales, excluding London.
According to the new rules, private car parks will also have to display prices more clearly, use a fairer appeal system, and give drivers a 10-minute grace period for lateness.
The maximum charge will be reduced to £50 in most cases, or £70 for more serious breaches.
When appealing fines, parking terms and conditions will also have to be clearly displayed in a bid to end firms hiding behind “non-specific, pseudo-legal and aggressive language”, although innocent mistakes, such as mistyping a registration number into a ticket machine, will be excused however.
A single parking appeals service would also be created to handle complaints.
Private firms who breach the new code could end up having their access to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data cut off, which means they could be banned from collecting fines in the future, yet this is expected to only kick-in from the end of 2023.
Speaking on the new government crackdown, Neil O’Brien – Minister for Levelling Up – 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.
“The 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 who put other people in danger and hinder our emergency services from carrying out their duties.”
Vehicle insurance and breakdown companies the AA and RAC have welcomed the new code.
Edmund King – President of the AA – said: “These much-needed upgrades to private parking rules will give better protection to drivers [as] for too long, those caught by private parking firms simply pay the charge to get rid of it [but] 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.”
“The RAC has campaigned for years to end the sharp practices in the private parking sector,” added Nicholas Lyes – Head of Roads Policy at the RAC.
“So we welcome the new national code that will usher in higher standards and will introduce a lower cap on penalty charge notices, an independent appeals system, and an end to rip-off debt collection fees.
“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.”
Featured Image – Thorntons Solicitors