The new Private Parking Code of Practice outlines minimum standards expected by private parking operators, with many hoping it will root out more d
The new Private Parking Code of Practice outlines minimum standards expected by private parking operators, with many hoping it will root out more dubious practices. A national appeals system has also been unveiled to make it simpler for drivers to fight charges they believe are unfair.
The maximum parking charge notice has been lowered to £50 in most cases outside of London, with a 50 percent discount offered for early payment.
Despite this, the £100 upper limit will be kept for more serious breaches.
The measures have also banned parking debt collectors from charging additional fees when parking charge notices are not paid.
Another popular change is the introduction of a compulsory 10-minute grace period before firms can issue a late fine.
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“Since clamping was banned on private land, there has been a shift to ticketing instead, with the number of parking charge notices being issued rising year-on-year at alarming levels.
“While some of these are justified, others are not and sadly in many cases drivers simply pay up in fear of the consequences, particularly given that follow-up letters can use threatening and intimidating language.
“RAC research found that nearly three-quarters of drivers wanted the sector to be brought under some form of regulation.
“This package of measures is not about stopping parking operators doing their jobs, it’s about creating a system that is fair and transparent for all.”
The changes also seek to improve standards on signage, conditions of parking and make it clearer on how to appeal a charge.
A further crackdown has been announced on parking firms using aggressive or “pseudo-legal” language to intimidate motorists into paying fines.
Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, said: “We found that nearly three quarters of drivers who appealed their PCN were successful, suggesting that many fines are in fact being issued unfairly.
“More than a third of motorists went on to say that more money needs to be spent on making road signs clearer, so that they don’t have to fork out for unfair fines in the first place.
“It sounds like the new plan aims to address these concerns. It aims to bring private parking firms more in line with councils, where drivers have a 10-minute grace period and often clearer signage.
“So hopefully those who have made a genuine mistake or are running a little bit late will be given the benefit of the doubt.
“When the new rules come into play remains to be seen, but a clearer appeals process should help drivers feel more confident that they have the right to challenge an unfair fine.
“If you do return to a ticket on your windscreen as a result of unclear restrictions or you had a genuine reason for running late, you can use our checklist to explain how to challenge a parking fine.”
The Department for Levelling Up has published an online survey to ask drivers about their experiences with regards to the current appeals process.