Greater rights for motorists
- Published on Friday, 28 September 2012 12:45
- Posted by Scott Buckler
From Monday (October 1) motorists will be given greater rights as new laws banning wheel clamping and towing take effect
It will be an offence to clamp, tow, block-in or immobilise a vehicle without lawful authority on private land under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. These changes will end abuses by rogue clamping firms who prey on motorists by charging excessive release fees. If clampers break the law, they could be liable to an unlimited fine in the Crown Court or up to £5,000 in a Magistrates Court.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the Home Office Minister with responsibility for changes to vehicle clamping law, said:
"This common sense ban will give motorists the protection they deserve against rogue wheel-clamping and towing companies.
"It will save motorists £55 million each year in clamping charges and finally penalise the real criminals – the corrupt firms themselves."
Other changes to vehicle laws include extending police powers to remove vehicles parked on private land. This will ensure landowners have a means to keep their land clear from obstructive or dangerously parked cars.
The Department for Transport is also strengthening laws around ticketing, so unpaid charges can be claimed from the keeper of the vehicle, as well as the driver. The Government has also agreed that an Independent Appeals Service funded by the British Parking Association will be established from 1 October. This free service will allow motorists to appeal a parking charge issued on private land by a company that is a member of the BPA's Approved Operator Scheme.
Local Transport Minister Norman Baker said:
"These new parking arrangements deliver a fairer legal framework for motorists and landowners, while getting rid of the indiscriminate clamping and towing by private companies for good."
These changes are being introduced on Monday as part of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, which received Royal Assent in May this year. They were all raised by members of the public through a cross-government survey, 'Your Freedom'. People had the chance to suggest ideas on restoring liberties that have been lost, repealing unnecessary laws and stripping away excessive regulation. The Act aims to restore traditional British freedoms to the heart of the Whitehall agenda.