A new law has come into force to provide motorists with greater protection from rogue private parking companies.
The Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019 took effect today with the aim of bringing to an end unfair parking charges and fines.
Under the new legislation, private parking companies face enhanced regulation and are now required to follow a single industry Code of Practice
New standards for private parking industry
Prior to the new rules, the private parking sector had been largely self-regulating, with two different parking trade associations, the British Parking Association and the International Parking Community, operating with their own individual codes of practice.
The new legislation will bring in a single, independent and industry-backed Code of Practice, to apply across the industry as a whole.
The code will be drafted later this year but is expected to promote enhanced transparency and clarity of rules and standards. It is also expected to cap the level of penalties companies could charge.
All private parking operators will have to follow the new Code of Practice.
The new rules also mandate the DVLA from sharing drivers’ details with private parking companies where the firm has breached the Code of Practice.
The DVLA made £16.3 million in 2018 alone from selling driver details to private parking firms looking to enforce parking tickets, according to a Freedom of Information request.
In addition, new powers will also allow the DVLA to audit car parks where a high volume of applications are made to assess the fairness of the charge for that specific location.
New rights to appeal unfair private parking fines
Prior to the new Act, drivers could appeal through the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) service, but only if the company that issued charge was a member of the British Parking Association (BPA).
To make the process easier for motorists to challenge unfair or unjustified parking fines, the new Act establishes a new, independent appeals service.
The changes have been backed across the board by motoring groups and the BPA, and are hoped to bring greater transparency and fairness across private parking and to improve consumer confidence in the sector.