Private parking firms issue tickets every seven seconds, data suggests
Category : News
The number of drivers fined by private parking companies in the UK has risen by more than a quarter in the past year, research by the RAC Foundation suggests.
Private parking companies requested more than 4.7m vehicle-keeper records from the DVLA in 2016-17, a rise of 28% from the previous year. The vast majority of these requests are likely to have been for the purpose of issuing fines to drivers of up to £100, the motoring research organisation says.
The data suggests private parking providers are issuing a ticket every seven seconds on average. The RAC Foundation director, Steve Gooding, called the figures “eye-watering”.
The government banned private car park operators from clamping vehicles in all but the most extreme circumstances in the 2012 Protection of Freedoms Act, but this also introduced the power for operators to fine owners of vehicles rather than having to prove who was driving.
Requests from private parking companies to the DVLA have trebled since then, the data shows.
Gooding said: “We all hoped the problems associated with parking on private land would go away when clamping was outlawed. It turns out we hoped in vain. Since the ban there has been a surge in ticketing. Something is clearly going awry.
“Of course, the rights of private landowners need to be protected, but where landowners invite people to park on their property, often to benefit from their trade, the rules need to be fair to both parties. Time and again we hear stories of people who feel that the terms were unclear, the tone of communication intimidating and the price of even the shortest accidental overstay extortionate.”
He called on the government to respond to the results of a 2015 public consultation on tackling unfair practices in parking. “The number of vehicle-keeper requests that private parking companies make on behalf of their landowner clients is a barometer for how well the private parking system is working, and we believe that the barometer is reading ‘stormy weather’ for ministers who have had the responses to the 2015 public consultation on their desks for two years now,” he said.
A government spokesman said: “We’re committed to reforming unfair parking practices and have already taken steps to tackle rogue private parking operators, including the banning of wheel clamping and towing.”