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Private parking firms to give grace period in Government clampdown

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Private parking firms could be required to give drivers a 10-minute grace period after their tickets expire, as the Government unveils plans to clamp down on "rogue operators".

Local Government secretary Robert Jenrick has instructed the British Standards Institution to write a new code of practice for private car park operators, forcing them to operate in-line with council-run site.

Companies that fail to comply with the regulations will no longer be able to retrieve vehicle keeper details from the DVLA.

A 10-minute grace period was introduced for all council car parks in England in 2015, but remains voluntary for private parking firms.

Under new legislation, all private car parks in England, Scotland and Wales will have to give motorists an extra 10 minute before issuing a late fine.

Jenrick said: “For too long rogue parking firms have operated in an unregulated industry, handing out unjust fines, putting drivers through baffling appeals processes and issuing tickets to motorists who were only seconds late back to their cars.

“The new Code will restore common sense to the way parking fines are handed out, encourage people back onto our high-streets and crack down on dodgy operators who use aggressive tactics to harass drivers.”

Other measures include a reduction of intimidating debt collection practices by private parking companies, and an independent appeals service, which will give motorists further support to challenge unnecessary parking tickets.

The Parking (Code of Practice) Act became law in March 2019 and builds on action the government has already taken to reduce rogue private parking firms’ actions, including banning wheel clamping, towing and stopping rash parking enforcement.

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  • Edward Handley - 05/11/2019 21:13

    The problem of excessive charges being charged by private parking companies would be very easy to resolve, but as usual, the Government has decided to complicate things. The simple solution would be to limit the maximum amount of any fine charged to that levied by the appropriate local authority, along with any discount given for prompt settlement. This would be simple and logical as it is not logical for the "fine" for parking for too long, or for not paying, to be greater than the fine for illegally parking on the road. Most local authorities charge £60 to £80 with a 50% reduction if paid within 14 days so most drivers pay £30 to £40, or a bit more in London and other major cities. If the parking companies were prohibited from excessive charging, by law, most of the problems would be solved because they would not be making the outrageous sums which just encourage them to behave like pirates.

  • peter mason - 23/12/2020 13:20

    A private parking company is trying to take me to court for not paying within the initial10 minute grace period, before I was required to pay. The reason I did not pay immediately is because the company's automated phone payment system was not working properly. It indicated a different car park (in Stourbridge) and not where I was actually parked (in Stroud) and would not allow me to confirm where I was parked. It took the return of a driver, who had already paid to park there, to persuade me that I should pay (he said 'The system does not work properly but you can still pay') which I did for the maximum time possible. However because I had exceeded the 10 minute grace period, trying to work out how/if I should pay, I am being 'fined' £180! I have appealed to POPLA but to no avail.

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