Department for Transport
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Government crack down on cowboy parking companies

Government crack down on cowboy parking companies

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 27 August 2009

Transport minister Sadiq Khan today signalled the Government’s intention to crack down on rogue parking firms with the introduction of tough new rules limiting the access to driver data.

Currently, private companies can request vehicle keepers’ details from the DVLA in order to issue penalty notices for drivers who have illegally parked on private land.

They will now all need to be a member of an Accredited Trade Association – requiring them to abide by a strict code of conduct – to get this information.

The measure is part of a broader cross-Government action plan to radically overhaul the rules governing the enforcement of parking on private land, due to be published in the Autumn. The plan is designed to target rogue firms and landowners who unfairly clamp vehicles or demand extortionate payments.

Transport Minister Sadiq Khan said:

“Where drivers break legitimate conditions set by landowners then it is right that penalties are applied. But we will not tolerate unscrupulous firms breaking the law by overcharging or intimidating motorists.

“We want a fair system that is clearly communicated with an independent complaints procedure.

“In order to achieve this we will be publishing later this year a cross-Government action plan which will help us to protect motorists and put a stop to the unacceptable behaviour of cowboy clampers and rogue parking firms.”

Other measures being considered include a compulsory licensing system for clamping firms which will ensure they behave responsibly and will allow the Security Industry Authority – the body that regulates the private security industry – to hold them to account.

This has recently been the subject of a consultation from the Home Office, the results of which will be announced later this year. However, specific measures are likely to address issues such as excessive penalties for releasing clamped vehicles, impounding cars unreasonably quickly after being clamped, inadequate signage warning drivers that clamping takes place and inadequate processes for dealing with objections from drivers.

The Government is considering how they can secure an independent review of complaints, and how best to make sure motorists are aware of their rights under consumer protection legislation.

Notes to Editors

1. Regulation 27 of the Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations provides for the release of information from DVLA’s vehicle records to those who can show ‘reasonable cause’ for requiring it.

2. Parking operators are already required to be a member of an ATA to have approved access via an electronic link to the vehicle record but the intention is to extend this requirement to those making manual, paper-based requests.

3. There are two main ways in which an owner of land to which the public has no right of access can enforce the terms and conditions on which s/he decides to make the land available for parking by others. One is to immobilise any vehicle that does not comply with those terms and conditions. The other is to leave a request for payment or additional payment on the vehicle. If the vehicle keeper does not comply with this payment request, pursue payment by obtaining the keeper details of the vehicle from DVLA.

Today’s announcement involves the latter, or “ticketing”, enforcement.

4. The Government is also considering immobilisation on private land. The Home Office has recently consulted on parking enforcement using vehicle immobilisation (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/cons-2009-vehicle-immobilisation/vehicle-immobilisation-cons1.pdf?view=Binary). They have proposed that all immobilisation companies should have to be licensed by the Security Industry Association (SIA), as individual operatives must be currently.

5. To date, the only ATA for car parking companies is the British Parking Association. Further information can be found on their website: www.britishparking.co.uk

Press Enquires: 020 7944 3066 Out of Hours: 020 7944 4292 Public Enquiries: 0300 300300 Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk/

Contacts:

Roads ..
Phone: 020 7944 3066
nds.dft@coi.gsi.gov.uk

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