/ Motoring

Three cheers for the ban on clamping

Car's front wheel clamped

At last! Clamping or towing cars on private land in England and Wales has been banned. That’s right, banned. It’s good news for all of us, especially if you’ve been affected by so-called ‘cowboy clampers’.

The government hasn’t merely promised to carry out the previous government’s planned regulation of private clamping – it’s scrapped it.

The Scots reached this point of rationality in 1992, and England and Wales will follow suit shortly after November’s Freedom Bill.

This only covers parking on private land – roughly speaking any parking off the street itself – which means no clamping in shopping centres, train stations, hotels or hospital car parks. This is definitely a big win.

End of the road for ‘cowboy clampers’

Anyone found clamping or towing on private land will face criminal prosecution and stiff fines. Though private clampers will still be able to pop tickets on our windscreens.

Clamping will now be controlled by the government and councils, where cars will only be clamped or towed if they’re untaxed, unroadworthy or happen to be blocking the road.

Transport minister Norman Baker commented that “cowboy clampers have had ample opportunity to mend their ways but the cases of bullying and extortion persist”.

We’ve seen depressing evidence of that type of behaviour over the years, with Which? Legal Service getting calls from two members who’d been clamped in lay-bys while their engines were still running.

No more happy clampers

Not surprisingly, rather a lot of people are rather pleased. Stephen Glaister of the RAC Foundation says many “will breathe a sigh of relief after years of outrageous behaviour”.

Even trade body the British Parking Association was reduced to sounding half-pleased, with its chief executive Patrick Troy saying it had “long lobbied for better regulation of the private parking sector, including clamping”. Before going on to call the government’s plans “a charter for the selfish parker”.

There is a chink of light for ‘cowboy’ clampers – they might become dodgy ticketers. But the government hopes to stop this from going out of control by asking land owners to put up barriers if they want to restrict access.

In general, this ban on clamping appears to be that rare thing – good news all round. Unless you’re a clamper.

A response to those concerned about the clamping ban and a chance to vote in our poll.

Comments

Here we had a very long alleyway behind houses that the residents used to get to their parking spaces/garages – which was also used by many pedestrians as a short cut to access the park and housing estates – saving a lot of time and energy.

Because of the numbers of inconsiderate motorists parking illegally for hours – blocking access to the residents own private parking – The residents had to erect locked gates at both ends – So pedestrians – often elderly – now have to walk an extra mile each way.

So HOW is it ” It’s good news for all of us” ???????,

Ruth Baillie says:
21 August 2010

Appalling idea. We have a right to defend our property from trespass. Take them to court? You are joking. Waste of time and money!

Our tiny carpark (15 places) serves 41 flats. Most people can come and go to deliver or pick up. Our Car Park man is very reasonable and asks before clamping.

Gates would be expensive and limit the number of places even more as they have to be a distance in from the road. Then I suppose these carefree motorists would park in front of the gates so we couldn`t get out.

Thanks very much Government for shirking your responsibilities and making it impossible for us behave legally and responsibly.

Joseph Fryer says:
21 August 2010

My residents management company has a small private car park, a few spaces for residents of the block, who often had to park on the street because motorists from outside the block decided to park on our forecourt. When the council created a controlled parking zone so people had to pay to park in the street, this put more pressure on our crowded car park, so we brought in a reputable clamping company. This was the only way to be sure there would be room left for us residents to park in our grounds, without having to pay £85 a year for a council permit to park on the street.

Since councils have powers to fine and will still be able to clamp and tow but we won’t be able to, where are people going to park? Obviously on private land, knowing the owners will be powerless to stop them. Having the right to sue some one for £75 for parking on our land, even if we can identify and trace them, takes months with no guarantee of obtaining any money from they even if we win in court. And all our residents will have to pay the council for a permit to park on the street, or they will have nowhere to park when trespassing interlopers fill up our car park.

We don’t want to “fine” people £75 for parking on our own land, we don’t want them there in the first place. Putting up notices saying it will cost £75 to park on our forecourt will in effect be authorising people to park, if they don’t mind being asked to pay £75. That sends out the wrong message. Of course we could sue for an injunction to stop an intruder ever parking on our forecourt again, but how much time and costs would that involve?

Progress isn’t always forwards. The AA, RAC and their member motorists who think it great that they can’t be clamped on private land, should think – that means they will surely be inconvenienced when they can’t park on their own private land. Not so great then?

Rob Jackson says:
22 August 2010

People who suffer the scourge of inconsiderate parkers are understandably frustrated. However, clamping simply immobilises the vehicle where it is and does not solve their problem. They are then faced with an angry person who they are demanding money from.

Allowing private land owners to register and act as pseudo-traffic wardens for their land and issue tickets allows the whole process and appeals to be handled by the local council.

The reason this practice is being banned is because it is bad practice. Self regulated people demanding money can only end badly.

Having been involved with the PCN process recently, (We get letters and bailiffs for a third party who used to live at this address) I can say that this area could do with a re-vamp.. A £60 ticket can literally turn in to a debt for many hundreds of pounds. One had got to nearly a thousand. The councils and then the bailiffs are not interested that he does not live but just keep adding the charges. It was disgusting to watch.

Graham Forecast says:
24 August 2010

The point is that proper signing discourages illegal parkers. No-one wnats to come back and find their car clamped. I agree that self-regulation doesn’t work. What we want is a legally enforced system that protects the motorist against extortionate fines and inadequate signs designed to trap them into offending, but still allows land-owners to use clamping as a deterrent to illegal parking.

As always its about balance in implementing parking controls. Where I live the Council and Contractors are employed to remove and clamp vehicles between them having a very cushy lucrative little earner at the expense of visitors and the unaware parking in available bays at a designated empty under used car parking area. But well attended especially on a Sunday due to a nearby Flower Market. If they had pay/display they would still retain income and provide a service and also keep indiscriminate parking under control. But instead they prefer to have a empty under used car park all the week and be heavy handed with charging a clamp/ removal fee at over £300 a vehicle. This is hardly the way to go to keep existing visitors to the area and encourage new visitors. Last but not least with parking bays for over 40+ vehicles there are only two residents parking bays available. Why?

From the arguments, it looks like there is some need to prevent parking on private land. Objections to current clamping practices are that signposting is inadequate, charges are extortionate, getting released is made difficult and takes too long and and a properly organised appeal process is missing (there are probably more). The obvious solution seems to be along the lines of strictly regulating clamping with ALL the objections addressed and solved. Licences to do clamping depend on meeting the requirements and continuing to do so.

Robin Carver says:
25 August 2010

i would have preferred there be regulations rather than a ban we could not get the situation where inconsiderate parking can cause problems to all and it will happen.
i live on an ex raf base therefore the roads are all private and owned and paid for by the residents part of the rules is no onstreet parking which we sign up to and there are double yellow lines along the road. there is a school on this road which used to be a primary school for the mod families it is now a special needs school with around 6 to 8 pupils a day, a very small school with 2 car parks and around 35 cars the teachers/staff who pay nothing to exist on the site refuse to accept the rules and park along the road causing obstructions to the drives and refuse to accept the rules. what options now exist for decent people who pay and own land to stop inconsiderate parking? it will cost a lot to pursue the offenders.
i have never been clamped and always try to park considerately but not everyone is like the majority and some will just ignore the private parking particularly now if there is to be no clamping.
why could we not have regulated it with say a maximum fine of say £100.
i do accept there have been cowboy firms but not all are like that.

Jesper says:
28 August 2010

I have returned to this conversation after posting my comments last week.

There are clearly some concerns from other people over how they are now supposed to deal with uninvited car parkers; the rules and laws around trespass are not expedient enough to remove cars immediately, so you can use your own property when uninvited cars are parked on it.

I initially had difficulty accepting the “Three Cheers for the Ban on Clamping” and “Good News for all of Us” headlines as universal truths. It is now evident that many people do not agree.

As far as I can see, the present reporting around this issues has clearly been biased and as such not in line with the principles I prefer to associate with Which? magazine and the Consumers Association.

As a member, I shall be making a formal complaint to Which? and CA on this style of reporting.

Paul says:
28 August 2010

About time too clamping fines were way over the top. Tiny signs and all the other ways to trap people. I paid one once (KAR in stevenage £225) I even knew of one of the clampers, MiFF I guess you will not have a job in November. Only reason I paid was I had the wife with me and she would not stand for a fight. Other than that, I remove them without damage and charge a finders fee and storage charge. For the record I do not park knowingly when I should not and am happy to pay fees. But when I collect from a shop and told to park in a service area then get clamped or am loading tools in my van when allowed to and still get clamped I will sort it out myself. I still have a nice lionweld clamp I use to secure my car when in london.

Interesting – you have been clamped several times –

I’ve been driving and parking for 55 years and NEVER been clamped –

[Edited by moderators: Please refrain from purposely provoking or antagonising other members of the community or disrupting the flow of discussion, as we explain in our commenting guidelines]

Patrick Martin says:
5 September 2010

I’d just like to support the view that the removal of clamping is not necessarily a good idea. I live in a block of flats where commuters used to park before we employed a clamping company. They have put up very obvious notices and give people not showing a permit ten minutes grace before clamping. This allows for deliveries. It works well and now residents can always park.

Q For Richard Dilkes says:
7 September 2010

Q for: Richard Dilkes

It is not always possible to gate, barrier or install retractable posts for the following reasons;

a. The landowners have no funding

b. The development is gated but people keep letting their friends and family in. The turnover of tenants makes it impossible to keep changing the gates key fob frequency and/or gate code

c. where do I park whilst the illegally parked vehicle is in my space

d. there is no tangible way to install gate(s), barrier(s) or parking posts

e. in order to fit a gate(s) barrier(s) the landowner needs planning permission which has been refused on the grounds that the application would cause an obstruction to the highways as vehicles would have to stop in the road and wait for the gate or barrier to open

f. the area is a right-of-way and others have access over it and as such gates and barriers are prohibited, retractable posts cannot be fitted as parking is not allocated

g. retractable posts are extremely prone to vandalism making them impractical, they are also cumbersome and not user friendly to the disabled – people have also tripped over them leading to personal injury claims against the landowner, motorists are also renowned for driving into the posts making them inoperable and a liability

Please describe how one can provide cost effective 24/7 protection for the landowner and homeowner as to the following.

Please Note: ticketing has failed to resolve the problems and it is not possible to gate, barrier or install retractable posts.

1. A small block of flats each with its own allocated parking space, there is no additional parking for residents or visitors. The flats are situated across the road from a busy sandwich shop and other businesses which attract trade from passing vehicles. The shops have no customer parking facilities of their own and parking in the road is insufficient to cope with parking demand, motorists are therefore parking in the residents bays as to its proximity to the shops. The flats’ parking bays are clearly marked along with large signs stating that illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed but this does nothing to help the residents as when one vehicle pulls off another one pulls in and even if you could ticket every vehicle and it paid this would not solve the residents dilemma … they need their parking space.

2. A large residential development in the heart of a city next to the local shopping centre and businesses premises. There are also adjacent properties and restaurants that have no parking facilities at all. Those who have an entitlement to park are issued with permits. The development cannot accommodate unauthorised vehicles and as such vehicles not complying with the parking schemes policies are clamped and/or removed for example if they are parked indiscriminately, dangerously and/or depriving a permit holder from parking. Where do the residents park whilst ticketed vehicles are in situ, these residents often have young children with them and/or heavy shopping to carry, these spaces are their private driveways.

3. The Government has approved the construct ion of a block of flats; the problem is that there are far more flats than parking spaces with some residents having more than one car in the household. All of the spaces have been rented and allocated on a first come basis to which the entitled occupants are complaining about their space being taken by other residents and unknown vehicles that keep appearing, the non authorised parkers are ignoring the parking tickets as there is no lawful way of enforcing the tickets as this is private land and not highways and even if you could enforce the tickets how does this help the bonafide parker who requires their parking space. The visitors and disabled bays are also being abused, vehicles are also double parking and causing damage by parking on the grass verges.

4. Without free patron parking a business is unable to proficiently trade. The issue of a parking charge notice does not remedy matters as the business requires the parking spaces for its customers and livelihood.

Q for: Richard Dilks says:
7 September 2010

Is the Government going to ban the following businesses and institutions because of the rogue element(s).

• Parliament (Expense Scandal) not over the last two decades but over centuries
• Banks
• The Building Industry
• Plumbers
• Gas Boiler Engineers
• Mechanics (Motor Trade]
• The Police Force (Rogue Police Officers)
• Doctors
• The Councils
• Charity Organisations
• Oil Companies
• The BBC (licensing)
• DVLA (you tax a vehicle prior to the end of the month but have to pay or all of the
previous month)

The list goes on …… perhaps others would like to carry on

Judith Bailey says:
7 September 2010

It is definitely not good news for all of us, especially those of us who live in flats with a private drive. All the headlines say ‘COWBOY clampers to be banned’ but it appears all private clamping firms will be banned. We have used a licensed clamper (not a cowboy clamper) to clamp unauthorised parking in order to deter people from surrounding streets from parking on our private land. If we issue tickets there’ll be no way of enforcing payment except through the courts and that would be a ridiculous waste of court time. Putting up a barrier would be expensive and would mean loss of access for visitors, delivery vans, utilities etc.

Q For Richard Dilks says:
8 September 2010

FOR RICHARD DILKS

Cat got your tongue

Q For Richard Dilks says:
8 September 2010

Richard

Posted 29 August 2010 at 7:29 am
VN:F [1.9.3_1094]

You gave a valid comment

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Q For Richard Dilks says:
9 September 2010

To: Richard Dilks

You have not answered the question. I will set it out again.

The Question

It is not always possible to gate, barrier or install retractable posts for the following reasons;

a. The landowners have no funding

b. The development is gated but people keep letting their friends and family in. The turnover of tenants makes it impossible to keep changing the gates key fob frequency and/or gate code

c. where do I park whilst the illegally parked vehicle is in my space

d. there is no tangible way to install gate(s), barrier(s) or parking posts

e. in order to fit a gate(s) barrier(s) the landowner needs planning permission which has been refused on the grounds that the application would cause an obstruction to the highways as vehicles would have to stop in the road and wait for the gate or barrier to open

f. the area is a right-of-way and others have access over it and as such gates and barriers are prohibited, retractable posts cannot be fitted as parking is not allocated

g. retractable posts are extremely prone to vandalism making them impractical, they are also cumbersome and not user friendly to the disabled – people have also tripped over them leading to personal injury claims against the landowner, motorists are also renowned for driving into the posts making them inoperable and a liability

Please describe how one can provide cost effective 24/7 protection for the landowner and homeowner as to the following.

Please Note: ticketing has failed to resolve the problems and it is not possible to gate, barrier or install retractable posts.

1. A small block of flats each with its own allocated parking space, there is no additional parking for residents or visitors. The flats are situated across the road from a busy sandwich shop and other businesses which attract trade from passing vehicles. The shops have no customer parking facilities of their own and parking in the road is insufficient to cope with parking demand, motorists are therefore parking in the residents bays as to its proximity to the shops. The flats’ parking bays are clearly marked along with large signs stating that illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed but this does nothing to help the residents as when one vehicle pulls off another one pulls in and even if you could ticket every vehicle and it paid this would not solve the residents dilemma … they need their parking space.

2. A large residential development in the heart of a city next to the local shopping centre and businesses premises. There are also adjacent properties and restaurants that have no parking facilities at all. Those who have an entitlement to park are issued with permits. The development cannot accommodate unauthorised vehicles and as such vehicles not complying with the parking schemes policies are clamped and/or removed for example if they are parked indiscriminately, dangerously and/or depriving a permit holder from parking. Where do the residents park whilst ticketed vehicles are in situ, these residents often have young children with them and/or heavy shopping to carry, these spaces are their private driveways.

3. The Government has approved the construct ion of a block of flats; the problem is that there are far more flats than parking spaces with some residents having more than one car in the household. All of the spaces have been rented and allocated on a first come basis to which the entitled occupants are complaining about their space being taken by other residents and unknown vehicles that keep appearing, the non authorised parkers are ignoring the parking tickets as there is no lawful way of enforcing the tickets as this is private land and not highways and even if you could enforce the tickets how does this help the bonafide parker who requires their parking space. The visitors and disabled bays are also being abused, vehicles are also double parking and causing damage by parking on the grass verges.

4. Without free patron parking a business is unable to proficiently trade. The issue of a parking charge notice does not remedy matters as the business requires the parking spaces for its customers and livelihood.

Q For Richard Dilks says:
9 September 2010

Richard

Your voting system is deceiving since you have to add the against the ban votes together to which it is noteworthy that the majority are in support clamping and towing.

Q For Richard Dilks says:
9 September 2010

We all agree that Clamping and Towing needs tighter regulations.

VOTE

1. Clamping and Towing should be banned
2. Clamping and Towing should be properly regulated

Hi, please try not to post multiple times in quick succession on the same article. We’ve had a look at the poll and have decided to reform it to make sure it reflects all options – thanks for pointing that out. If you have already voted, please re-vote. Thanks.

litrw says:
9 September 2010

Patrick

Your voting system needs to be unambiguous

1. Total ban on clamping and towing
2. Clamping and Towing o be better regulated

In accordance with best business practice please would Richard Dilks have the courtesy to answer the question post of the 9th September 10:28 am