DVLA data has been analysed and shows that there has been a 50% increase in parking tickets issued by private parking companies. In 2021 1.8 million tickets were issued between April and June; this year, in the same period, the number has increased to 2,700,000 tickets. This means that around 30,000 drivers will find themselves with a parking ticket each day.
Previously private parking companies have come under fire for poor practices and unethical working methods. So much so that a Private Parking Code of Practice which had been designed to bring about an end to unethical companies, was scrapped despite heading to parliament to be approved. It had first been proposed in February and went into a consultation period but was scrapped at the end, which is a blow for drivers who miss out on some invaluable protection. The proposal had been to scrap fines above £50, making this the maximum. Currently, it is set at £100, and now this will remain in place, if not rise, as there is no code of practice to prevent it.
Many private parking companies remain under fire for excessively issuing parking fines, especially when drivers feel that car park signage is often unclear and even misleading, trapping them into receiving a parking ticket. The code of practice was also set to have clear guidance on debt collection, which at the moment is said to be aggressive and massive fees are added seemingly at random for drivers who do not pay immediately. Nicholas lies, the Head of Roads Policy at the RAC, spoke about the situation, saying, “These figures clearly demonstrate why a new code of practice is so desperately needed alongside a single independent appeals system. We also need the Government to stand firm on introducing a £50 charge cap and a ban on unjustified debt recovery fees. It is totally unacceptable for the private parking industry to continue dragging its feet, which means too many motorists continue to be unfairly issued parking charge notices. The new private parking code of practice was designed specifically to make things fairer for drivers and end some of the worst practices in the sector.
It’s deeply disappointing that the code has been temporarily withdrawn, which now almost certainly means yet more delays in it being introduced. Drivers have a right to feel infuriated. The fact that parking companies take issue with the capping of charge notices and debt recovery fees shows precisely why both the code and the cap are needed. For too long, some companies have been allowed to prey mercilessly on drivers who might make an honest mistake and then have to face both over-zealous enforcement and threatening debt recovery letters. The Government must stand up to these companies and get the code over the line, so we finally have fair and transparent enforcement in the private parking sector.”