The UK government has recently introduced a New Private Parking Code of Practice. This code aims to improve standards in the private parking industry by ensuring fair treatment of drivers and a more consistent approach to enforcement across the sector. The code was developed with input from consumer groups, the parking industry, and the government.
Most car parks in England, Scotland, and Wales are owned by private landowners and managed by private operators. The government’s Parking Code aims to protect the public from non-compliant parking and substandard industry practices while ensuring the smooth operation of the private parking sector. The charging regime is essential to incentivise good behaviour and deter non-compliant and antisocial parking while ensuring access to high-quality parking. The Code must balance protecting all motorists, including compliant parkers, with the operation and expansion of the sector.
Under the new code, private parking operators will be required to follow a set of guidelines to ensure transparency and fairness. This includes providing clear signage, offering a reasonable appeals process, and not using aggressive or misleading tactics to collect parking fines. The code will also require operators to provide clear information about their charges and to use reasonable measures to ensure that their charges are fair and proportionate.
The government hopes that the new code will help to reduce the number of unfair parking charges being issued and ensure that drivers are treated fairly. It is estimated that around 10 million drivers in the UK are issued with private parking tickets each year, with many of these being contested on the grounds of unfair or unclear charges. With the new code, drivers will have more confidence to park without fear of being penalised unfairly.
The new code will be enforced by an independent Code Adjudicator, who will have the power to investigate complaints and impose fines on operators who breach the code. The Adjudicator will also have the power to bar operators who persistently breach the code from accessing driver data, effectively preventing them from operating in the sector.
Consumer groups have welcomed the new code, which they say is a big step forward in protecting drivers from the unfair practices that have blighted the private parking industry for too long. Martin Lewis, founder of the consumer website MoneySavingExpert, has said that the new code is important in ensuring that drivers know their rights and that they can challenge unfair charges.
The new Private Parking Code of Practice will come into effect later this year and will apply to all private parking operators in England, Scotland, and Wales. The government has said that it will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the code and make further improvements if necessary.
The proposal for the New Private Parking Code of Practice was initially introduced in 2018. However, it was subsequently withdrawn due to concerns raised by consumer groups and Members of Parliament about the lack of oversight and accountability in the proposed framework. The government took these concerns into account and made revisions to the code to ensure that it provided adequate protection to drivers.
The resubmitted code, which was published in March 2021, includes several changes to the original proposal. These changes include the introduction of an independent Code Adjudicator to enforce the code, as well as the requirement for operators to provide clear information about their charges and to use reasonable measures to ensure that their charges are fair and proportionate.
The resubmitted code was developed in consultation with consumer groups, the parking industry, and the government. The government has said that it believes the revised code strikes the right balance between protecting drivers and ensuring that operators are able to run their businesses effectively.
The resubmitted New Private Parking Code of Practice will come into effect later this year, and will apply to all private parking operators in England, Scotland, and Wales. The government has said that it will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the code and make further improvements if necessary.