Private Parking Industry Announces Code of Conduct

The private parking industry has recently come under scrutiny for deciding to announce a homemade code of conduct. An official government code of conduct for private parking has been in the line for many years now but has been delayed due to legal challenges. As a result, the industry has created its own Code, which has been deemed “inferior”.

Bad Rules

The new rules have been proposed by both the International Parking Community (IPC) and the British Parking Association (BPA) and are going to be introduced properly in the autumn. They give a new 10-minute “grace period” to drivers who have expired tickets.

The announcement also comes with higher standards for signage and a new “appeals charter”, which has been created for challenging fines.

Mixed Results

The move has seen mixed results across the country. For example, firms have been told by industry authorities that they have until 2026 to ensure compliance with the rules for their new Code. The RAC, meanwhile, has gone on record and branded the Code as being both a shock and a deeply confusing decision in the wake of formal government legislation, which will be introduced sooner rather than later.

Simon Williams is the RAC head of policy and had this to offer on the subject:

“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 from 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.”

Meanwhile, Nicholas Lyes is the director of policy and standards at IAM RoadSmart, a charity, and he has this to offer:

“Drivers will wonder what has taken parking associations so long to publish the new Code.

No matter how they might dress it up, this is primarily driven by new laws around the Government-led Parking Code of Practice rather than a self-proclaimed gesture of being fairer to motorists.

“Some might say it is jumping before being pushed.”

Reversal in Process?

Naturally, such a decision has attracted more than its fair share of controversy. Many people speculate that this will lead to a reversal of the Code in future - be it through choice or through the use of force by powerful bodies to ensure every parking industry is using a single rulebook for ease of understanding. Whatever the reasoning behind their decision, it is clear that it has not been a popular or even recommended decision.