The British Parking Association (BPA) is to implement a new code of conduct governing private car parking firms.
Members of the BPA will be required to adhere to new rules designed to benefit drivers by tackling rogue parking companies and dubious fines.
The new code will afford the BPA greater powers at the first stage of appeal to overturn parking penalties. 74% of appeals are already upheld, but it is expected the new rules will see this figure move close to 100 per cent.
Changes to the rules on parking fines have long been called for by motoring groups in response to rogue private operators issuing parking fines for minor infractions or even where there has been no infringement, such as where a driver types only part of the vehicle registration into a parking meter or inputting the number zero instead of the letter O.
The BPA’s proposals demonstrate a more practical approach to parking. A new five minute grace period is to be introduced between arriving at a car park and buying a ticket. If a driver leaves a car park within five minutes of arriving, there can be no charge or fine. This is to avoid scenarios such as driving into a car park and then leaving, for example, to turn around, check directions, drop someone off or if there is no space to park.
Parking firms will also have to allow 10 minutes after the ticket ends before they can issue a penalty and ‘soft ticketing’ has been banned, where a note is put on the vehicle advising the driver to check if they have been fined by logging onto a site or app.
If issued a parking fine that they want to contest, motorists will still need to follow the appeals process but it is expected the new code will see better handling of cases at the first appeal stage by, for example, clarifying genuine mistakes.
The BPA is one of two regulatory bodies for private parking in the UK but the Government is also set to roll out a new nationwide code of conduct with the aim of ensuring consistency in parking rules across the country.