‘Rogue’ parking firms face crackdown

“Rogue” parking companies will be banned from accessing driver data and issuing charges as part of plans to stop “unscrupulous operators”.

The government has confirmed it will support new legislation aimed at raising standards among parking firms.

Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, said the legislation will provide “fair, clear and consistent” regulation of the parking industry.

It comes as firms issue almost 13 times more tickets than a decade ago.

Drivers’ growing disquiet about the rules on parking are underlined by figures showing nearly 10,000 people approached the Citizens Advice Bureau for guidance on parking tickets last year.

There are complaints of inconsistent practices, substandard signage, confusing appeals processes and intimidating payment letters, said the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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Conservative MP Sir Greg Knight’s Parking (Code of Practice) Bill to tackle rogue parking operators is due for its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday, effectively guaranteeing its passage into law.

Firms which don’t obey the rules will be blocked from accessing drivers’ DVLA records.

This will prevent the firms from issuing charges, effectively forcing them out of the industry.

Mr Javid said drivers have suffered for too long “at the hands of dodgy parking firms”.

He said: “That is why government is putting the brakes on these rogue operators and backing new laws that will put a stop to aggressive behaviour and provide a simpler way for drivers to appeal fines.”

The department hopes motoring groups and other experts will help the Communities Secretary to develop the code of practice.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the move would bring “some much-needed regulatory rigour to the world of private parking”.

He added: “Drivers don’t want a parking free-for-all, but they do want a system that is fair to all parties and that’s what a code of practice set by government – rather than the industry itself – should bring about.”

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