New measures to help prevent the worst excesses of rogue parking companies have become law.
The Parking (Code of Practice) bill – introduced to parliament by Sir Greg Knight MP – aims to introduce a single set of rules and regulations which have ministerial sign off and must be adhered to by all firms operating parking on private land.
There will also be single independent appeals service which motorists can take their cases to.
Up until now the private parking industry has been self regulated by two accredited trade associations: the BPA and the IPC.
However, in recent years – since the Protection of Freedoms Act essentially outlawed clamping in 2012 – the number of private penalty tickets being issued to drivers has soared.
In 2008-9 some 690,000 penalties were issued.
However, the RAC Foundation estimates that in this current financial year alone almost seven million penalties will be dished out.
The numbers are based on the volume of vehicle keeper records the DVLA is selling to parking companies which allows them to send demands to car owners, often for £100 and sometimes more.
Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Sir Greg is to be congratulated for his success in uniting MPs and peers alike to deliver the Parking (Code of Practice) Act the private parking industry so clearly needs.
“The Act will tackle an issue which our figures show affects millions of motorists each year.
“We have never advocated a parking free for all, but a system that is fair to all, motorists and landowners alike, and which Sir Greg’s new law brings one step closer.
“We look forward to supporting the Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak as he now moves to put in place the code of practice, appeals and scrutiny mechanisms that the Act provides.”
Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak MP said: “Millions of us use private car parks every day, but for far too many drivers slapped with unjust fines this largely unregulated industry feels like the Wild West.
“Too often, I hear of awful treatment at the hands of dodgy parking firms, from problems paying for parking to intimidating demands for payment and baffling appeals processes.
“From today, we’re able to cut out the rogue operators by creating a single Code of Practice and giving drivers greater protection through a new appeals service.”