Drivers warned private parking changes are ‘confusing’ for motorists who continue to get fined 'unfairly'

Drivers warned private parking changes are ‘confusing’ for motorists who continue to get fined 'unfairly'

WATCH: Danny Kelly on Parking Fees

Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 29/04/2024

- 15:12

The insurance company RAC was left 'flabbergasted' by the parking rules

The upcoming private parking changes risk “confusing” drivers after experts have warned that the scheme merely “muddies the waters” than addressing bigger issues.

The insurance company RAC stated it was “flabbergasted” by the "sudden" Code of Practice rules which were introduced last week by the British Parking Association and the International Parking Community.

The insurer said it was surprised that both organisations decided to introduce their own private parking code after “doing all they can” do prevent the Private Parking (Regulator) Bill from coming into force.

The Bill which failed to pass through parliament would have established a regulator for privately-owned car parks to stop them from unfairly fining drivers.

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A parking machine

British motorists were slapped with 35,000 fines a day


Simon Williams, head of policy at the RAC, said: “We’re flabbergasted that the BPA and IPC have suddenly announced plans to introduce their own ‘private parking code’ after doing all they can over the last five years to prevent the official Government Code created by an Act of Parliament coming into force.

“While there are clearly some positive elements to what the private parking industry is proposing, it conveniently avoids some of the biggest issues around caps on penalty charges and debt recovery fees which badly need to be addressed to prevent drivers being taken advantage of.

“These elements, alongside a formal appeals process, are currently being worked on by the Government and in our opinion can’t come soon enough.

“Nothing should stand in the way of the official Code, least of all a new industry scheme which muddies the waters and risks confusing drivers.”

Williams continued that for the private parking industry to “all of a sudden paint themselves” as being “whiter than white” with their own ‘code’ and appeals charter takes irony to another level.

The reforms to private parking rules came as British motorists were slapped with 35,000 fines a day last year by private parking firms.

Each ticket can cost up to £100 for parking fines with the private companies raking in thousands for infringements, prompting drivers to demand action.

In response the code looked to impose “clear consequences” on drivers who breached Blue Badge parking slots, offer more clarity on parking restrictions and provide clearer signage standards.

The changes are expected to take effect from October 1 later this year, with existing sites expected to update their signage and be fully compliant by late 2026.

Drivers have been calling for a Code of Practice since 2019 when the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019 was launched and debated in Parliament.

In response to the RAC comments, Andrew Pester, chief executive at the BPA explained that the association has been “instrumental” in bringing forward legislation to enable the Parking (Code of Practice) Act.

He continued: “Our sector single Code reflects the standard raising elements of the Government’s withdrawn code and allows our private parking sector to raise stands including the introduction of an Appeals Charter, without delay.”


Cars parked

Code of Practice aims to make parking fairer for drivers


BPA said it has been calling on the Government to reconsider its proposal to reduce the parking charge amount in the private parking sector.

A reduction in the “deterrent effect” will only benefit the small number of motorists who break the rules, Pester remarked.

He added that “selfish and irresponsible parking” increases congestion and makes it increasingly difficult for responsible motorists to find somewhere to park and get on with their daily lives.

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