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Legal clampdown for rogue parking firms

Published 15 March 2019

Cowboy parking firms will be barred from obtaining drivers’ details from the DVLA, as part of a legal clampdown on rogue operators.

Private parking companies obtained 5.6 million vehicle keeper records in 2017/18, with the DVLA charging £2.50 for each name and address supplied.

The data is only available to companies that are signed up to either the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community, with each having a set of rules that their members must abide by.  

The Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019, which received Royal Assent today, will introduce a new universal code of practice for all private parking firms in England, Scotland and Wales. There will also be a new independent appeals service that will be designed to make it easier for drivers to challenge unfair fines.

“For too long, some unscrupulous private parking operators have made drivers’ lives a misery with some questionable practices which has sent levels of trust in the sector plummeting.”

The 2019 code of practice will be co-written by the Government and motoring groups and published in the summer. Once in force, it'll introduce strict rules to stop poor signage, extortionate fines and aggressive demands for payment. Private parking firms that ignore the code will be barred from requesting motorists’ information from the DVLA, which will make it almost impossible for them to enforce fines.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said: “For too long, some unscrupulous private parking operators have made drivers’ lives a misery with some questionable practices which has sent levels of trust in the sector plummeting.

“The code will create more consistent standards across the board which should eliminate dubious practices and create a single, independent appeals process.”

Comments

GingerTom    on 15 March 2019

So the DVLA make £14 million a year just from parking firms !!

mmmmm    on 15 March 2019

Much credit and recognition for progress on this matter, to honestjohn.co.uk, having been campaigning for reform for many years. No time to rest on laurels, as more to be done to finish this important task.

Honestjohn    on 17 March 2019

I'm very pleased that Sir Greg Wise finally got his private members bill through both houses and gained Royal Assent. But you're right. There are still so many vested interests involved that the drafting of this Code of Practice has to be watched very carefully.

HJ

A J Mobbs    on 18 March 2019

Local Authorities should be included too. I lost an appeal for not noticing that I needed an on-street parking ticket which would have cost less than £2.00. My unsuccessful appeal to the parking tribunal in London was 1) error on the PCN; 2) inadequate signage when compared to nearby signs for other parking spaces and 3) disproportionate penalty: £110 for a missed <£2 ticket.

P Rowbotham    on 18 March 2019

In your editorial, you refer to parking fines, private companies can not levy fines, only charges.

Stephen Szmidt    on 18 March 2019

According to Will Hurley of the International Parking Community (IPC), when he was interviewed on BBC Breakfast, 50% of Private Car Parking Companies are members of his organisation and they operate to the highest standards and this legislation wasn't required for them!!!! I know a parking company who break several of the IPC Codes of Practice and therefore should loose their licence to have access to keeper details from the DVLA. I complained about this member to the IPC and all they did was make up an excuse for every breached code and dismissed and closed my complaint. I have also heard that the DVLA are only interested in getting their £2.50's so complaints to them is also a waste of time. Hopefully this new legislation will be an end to the rogue parking companies and the current corrupt Parking & Appeals organisations and the DVLA will need to be accountable..

tuk585    on 18 March 2019

If you are clamped how do you get out without paying a 'charge/fine'?

Spenc56    on 18 March 2019

We recently got charged for parking at B&Q £40. We left the site for an hour before going into shop, against the rules apparently.
With the high street in crisis it seems an extraordinary way to treat customers . For the sake of £40 they've lost us as customers, it's online and rivals who don't charge in future.

   on 18 March 2019

Remember that the government started this parking beano with the Protection of Freedoms Act in 2012. Thay are attempting to sort their own cock up.

NEIL SCARLETT    on 18 March 2019

There is no legal obligation to display a registration number on a vehicle when it is on private property.
Furthermore these parking companies rely upon ANPR type technology to record your vehicle entering and leaving the car park.
The solution is quite simple if you think about it.

Howard Buchanan    on 19 March 2019

Why do I have this funny feeling, which is becoming more frequent recently, that the more loudly game-changing legislation is trumpeted in the media, the more likely it is that nothing will really change and that ways will be found to circumvent these allegedly tough restrictions on cowboy activity? Whatever happens, can anyone imagine that the DVLA will calmly preside over a significant decline in its revenue?

NEIL SCARLETT    on 19 March 2019

My dear sir, you are quite correct. We may expect unscrupulous firms to act in an unscrupulous manner but the bigger scandal is that they are aided and abetted by our so called public servants.

Edited by NEIL SCARLETT on 19/03/2019 at 08:03

JohnofGaunt    on 19 March 2019

It's good to see that rogue parking companies will be, to some extent, prevented from sharp unscrupulous practice. There is another aspect to this isuue that I would like to comment on. The DVLA is supplying names & addresses to a third party, and evidence shows us the recipients can be unsavory individuals and companies. This cuts right through reasons for having Data Protection Legislation, yet the Information Commissioners Office ( I C O ) allows this to happen. The I C O has fined charities for unintended breaches of Data Protection legislation yet allows the DVLA to break the rules, this is a massive inconsistency in the policing of the rules for which the ICO should be held to account. I wonder if Honest John has ever taken up this issue.

John H

HighlanderUK    on 19 March 2019

My question exactly, why does the DVLA escape punishment for giving out our personal details to unknown 3rd parties, when we have not been asked permission to do so -- GDPR doesn't seem to apply to government companies it seems.

Any other normal company would & has been be heavily fined.

JimR    on 20 March 2019

Most of the cowboys are members of the British Parking Association so it's unlikely to make little difference. Those that aren't members now will probably join.

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