Car clamping banned and new appeals service welcomed by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service

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WARWICKSHIRE County Council’s Trading Standards Service is hoping that a new law and appeals system that seek to regulate parking on private land will reduce the number of parking ticket and clamping complaints it receives each year.

From the 1st October 2012, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 will prohibit clamping and removal of vehicles parked on private land without lawful authority.

‘Lawful authority’ applies in cases where specific legislation is in force (including laws and bye-laws) which allows for vehicles to be immobilised or removed. The Railways Act 2005 for example allows for vehicles to be immobilised or removed in certain circumstances from railway station car parks. But terms and conditions imposed by a landowner do not normally in themselves establish lawful authority.

The new law will mean the only parking enforcement allowed will be barriers at the entrances and exits of car parks and the issue of civil charges to vehicles which have infringed the rules for using the private land.

A new independent appeals service – ‘Parking on Private Land Appeals’ or POPLA – will be launched to coincide with the introduction of the new law.

Motorists who want to appeal against a parking charge issued on private land must do so to the organisation which issued it. Only when the operator’s appeals process has been completed, can the motorist take their case to POPLA.

The decision of the independent service is binding on the organisation which issued the parking charge.

When the law comes in to force on 1st October, anyone who clamps or immobilises a vehicle or tows it away on private land without specific legal authority to do so will face criminal proceedings or civil sanctions.

The ban will apply to private land only and will not change existing traffic enforcement by local authorities and police on highways.

The British Parking Association is one of a number of organisations that has information about the car clamping ban and the appeals process. For more information visit:

www.britishparking.co.uk/public-advice