A law has come in to ban wheel clampers from clamping or towing vehicles on private land in England and Wales. It’s safe to say that opportunistic clampers won’t be missed, but will it put pay to dodgy parking practices?
So, instead of getting clamped, cars parked improperly on private land could be issued with a parking charge. Motorists will then have a period of time to pay up.
After that, a car park operator who is a member of an Accredited Trade Association (ATA) will send a demand for payment by post, after accessing the owner’s details from the DVLA. The new law makes the owner of the vehicle responsible for paying the charge.
So it’s the end of the road for clampers. Surely no-one will miss a group of people who have been widely condemned for their intimidating and exortionist behaviour?
Who will miss the clampers?
But if you’re a land-owner, you might well mourn the end of clamping. Say you’re a small business with a couple of much-needed parking spaces, or live in a flat with a private parking space. Clamping may have been a much more effective deterrent than parking tickets in keeping selfish drivers from parking where they shouldn’t. In a Convo about this ban last year, commenter Richard said:
‘I am now faced with motorists parking on my forecourt/front garden without any way of removing them. The police have never been interested in removing them. Why should I provide “free” parking to irresponsible motorists who simply want to avoid paying the councils parking fees?’
Clearly selfish motorists are a problem, but what about rogue car park operators? Could the new law simply mean that cowboy clampers turn to cowboy ticket issuers instead? It’s certainly possible. After all, not everyone who operates a private car park is a member of an ATA.
Non-ATA members can’t access DVLA records to send out reminders by post, so they’re more likely to demand instant payment. And rogue operators could attempt to issue bogus tickets on land where they have no right to be. Commenter John H is glad to see an end to clamping:
‘It is absolutely right that clamping is banned; nobody should be deprived of the use of their vehicle until they submit to extortion because of a minor traffic violation.’
Give us proper regulation
The whole issue of curbing cowboy parking operators while protecting land-owners against unauthorised parking remains a mess.
What we need is proper regulation of the private parking industry. Making all private car park operators sign up to a government-endorsed code of practice would be a great start. And while the government has agreed to an independent appeals system for motorists who want to contest parking charges, it only applies to companies that are members of the British Parking Association. It really needs to apply to all car park owners.
Have you had any bad experiences with clampers? Or have you found them a useful deterrent for your own private spaces?