London will receive a smaller overall reduction as part of a government crackdown on private parking fines which will protect motorists from “aggressive debt collection and unreasonable fees.”
Under a new parking code of practice introduced by the government today, the cap for private parking fines will be cut in half, going from £100 to £50 in all of England and Wales – except for London, which will see caps at £80.
According to the new regulation, car parkings will also need to display prices more clearly as well as use a fairer appeal system, giving drivers a 10-minute a grace period for tardiness, PA news agency reported.
Firms caught in breach of the rules will have their access to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency discontinued, as they will no longer be able to collect fines.
“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,” said levelling up minister Neil O’Brien.
“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.”
The news was welcomed by the automotive industry, who said the decision was a step in the direction of making private car parks fairer.
“Changes are a step in the right direction and something we flagged a decade ago after outlawing cowboy clampers,” tweeted this morning the AA president Edmund King, while RAC’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said the move will bring in new standards.
“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,” he added. “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.”
The British Parking Association (BPA) has opposed the change in rules, saying it will have a devastating effect on the economy.
According to Conor Greely, BPA’s director and chair of its technology, innovation and research board, the new parking code of practice will deliver a £19.5bn hit to UK retail sales.
“Latest research analysing footfall in UK towns and cities showed that the closure of prominent town centre car parks could lead to a dramatic decline in footfall of between 5 and 7 per cent,” said BPA in a statement on 28 January.
“Applying these figures to the 2019 store-only retail sales figure of £275.2bn would mean an annual decline in UK GDP of between £13.2bn and £19.5bn.”