Henry Smith MP has given his support to legislation scheduled to come before the House of Commons this Friday, 2nd February, to introduce a statutory Code of Practice for private parking companies to prevent motorists from being unfairly ripped off.
The Parking (Code of Practice) Bill, introduced by Rt Hon Sir Greg Knight MP and supported by the Government seeks to provide motorists with new legal protections from unscrupulous private parking operators and aims to raise standards in the industry.
“I’m pleased to support the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill which will put the brakes on the minority of operators who want to take advantage of motorists.
“I often hear from Crawley residents about their own experiences of rogue parking companies and I’m pleased that the Government are backing these measures to support drivers locally and around the country.”
Under the plans, which will deliver on a manifesto commitment to tackle rogue parking operators, a stringent new Code of Practice will be developed by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government in conjunction with motorist groups and other experts.
Those falling foul of the rules would then be blocked from accessing driver data and issuing fines, effectively forcing them out of the industry.
These measures build on the Government’s action to tackle rogue private parking operators, including banning wheel clamping and towing, and over-zealous parking enforcement by councils and parking wardens. The Crawley MP has previously introduced legislation in the House of Commons to tackle the practices of such parking companies.
Evidence shows that, in total, nearly 10,000 people approached Citizens Advice regarding private parking tickets last year and parking firms are issuing almost 13 times more tickets than a decade ago.
Following the ban on wheel clamping introduced in 2012, private parking providers are now issuing a ticket every seven seconds and many of these are in dubious circumstances.
Rt Hon Sir Greg Knight MP (East Yorkshire constituency), who originally proposed this legislation, said;
“Time and time again, I am hearing horror stories from motorists across Britain so this Bill will reform unfair parking practices.
“It will apply to anyone who runs a private car park and will oblige them to operate in a fair and reasonable way and I am delighted to have the support of your local MP.”
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· The new Code of Practice will be drafted up with stakeholders, and would provide the clarity of a single set of rules for private parking, with clearer processes for appeals.
· The Secretary of State would also have the power to raise a levy on the sector to fund the production, publishing and enforcement of the code.
· At present, there are two parking trade associations, the British Parking Association (BPA) and the International Parking Community (IPC). Each has a Code of Practice that their members are required to abide by. A single code is intended to set a higher standard for practices across the sector, especially in the area of appeals against parking tickets.