AA urges private parking regulation

Private parking operators acting outside statutory provisions

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'No parking' sign on chain link fence

Private land parking enforcers are "free to reap any and every parking infringement," despite recent legislation, according to the AA.

Highlighting findings of the new Parking on Private Land Appeals (Popla) body, the AA said the requirements of the 2102 Protection of Freedoms Act were not always being observed.

Popla's report for 2013/14 said some private parking operators were acting outside some statutory provisions of the Act in their pursuit of those who they think have offended.

Popla's report also revealed that in 2013/14 the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) received 2.2 million electronic requests for vehicle keeper details from private parking operators.

In addition there were more than a third of a million paper requests from private companies, although not all of these were necessarily parking companies.

These requests were against a background of Popla dealing with just over 25,000 parking charge appeals in the 12 months ending March 2014.

Popla said: "Whatever the proportion is of all requests from private parking operators which actually result in the issue of a parking charge notice, the number of matters coming to appeal would appear very small in comparison to a figure of well over two million requests."

Popla said 23,500 appeals were decided in 2013/14 of which 10,661 (45.37%) were allowed and 12,839 (54.63%) were refused.

The AA said the setting up of Popla represented a step forward in reducing some of the private parking enforcement abuses, but it still wants to see regulation of private parking control and enforcement.

AA head of roads policy Paul Watters said "It remains a constitutional anomaly that the Protection of Freedoms Act allows parking companies belonging to the British Parking Association to chase the registered keepers of vehicles with unpaid parking charge notices yet the very practice itself is not governed by regulations other than civil law.

"The Government must introduce a system whereby, when your address is given to a parking company by DVLA, the DVLA tells you this has happened and what your legal rights are.

"This will at least give vehicle owners a chance to recall the events before the £100 demand arrives.
Even when discounted to £60, a private parking notice is double the cost of many local authority car park penalties. This remains too high for a minor error on private land."

Mr Watters went on: "Mass ticketing will be banned on council highways and in council car parks but it is a different situation on private land where parking companies want to reap in revenue to reward themselves and give a divvy to the people who contract them.

"We need more barriers and parking attendants in private car parks to help and deter rather than let an anonymous machine churn out the tickets.

"Many companies are making vast sums yet are getting away with inadequate signing which becomes only a subjective issue at appeal."

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