In the past, fines for parking were capped at £100 in England, Scotland and Wales, but the changes officially confirmed in February 2022 could see this reduced to £50. This comes as a way to protect motorists, however, higher fines will still remain for more serious offences.
Any parking operators that do not comply with this new rule may be banned from collecting fines from motorists
But what does the new code mean for motorists?
- Under the newly proposed law, the maximum parking fine in private car parks in the UK (except Northern Ireland) will be reduced by 50% to £50.
- Motorists continuing to commit serious breaches such as parking in Blue Badge bays will still be charged the higher fines of £70 to £100.
- Motorists will be offered a 50% discount if they pay within 14 days.
- In addition to the above, the rules also outline plans for better signage, clearer, more transparent fees and charges and other benefits such as a 5 minute cool off period in which motorists can change their mind about parking. These rules are something that we strongly believe in and that have been trying to drive forward as standard practice in the industry. (Although operators already adhered to this within the BPA, this will be extended across the board)
Parking Management should not be about “catching people out” but instead focus on stopping people who abuse private car parks and have a negative impact on the experience for everyone legitimately trying to use the car park.
Improving the Appeals Process
The government also looks to improve the way in which tickets are appealed.
As a member of the BPA, we always stand behind a fair and manageable appeals process, taking a human approach that applies compassion and listens to the customer making the appeal. We all make mistakes, and at times, it is at no fault of the motorists. It is refreshing to see that the government will be backing this vision of parking with compassion, however, we think it is of the utmost importance that parking providers adhere to the guidelines set by governing bodies such as the British Parking Association.
It is with these changes that “rogue operators” will slowly and surely be forced out of the industry, allowing companies that conduct business in a fair manner under the guidelines of local authorities and governing bodies to shine.
The Dangers of Removing Debt Recovery Fees
It is standard practice within the industry to use the service of professional debt recovery agencies, with the current fee being capped at £70. This serves as an important part of ensuring landowners and parking operators can recover pending charges and stop cases from reaching the County Courts.
It helps the parking sector to engage with motorists facing a charge after the appeals and follow-up process has run its course without any progress or payment. The removal of these services, including the provision of payment plans and the professional approach to dealing with vulnerable people may trigger more cases being taken to court which would be damaging for motorists and operators alike.
What do we think of the new rules?
Whilst in some cases, we do not necessarily agree with this reduction, for the most part, it is a positive move for the government. Our mission is to make a better transportation industry for all, and create a fair place for motorists when using car parks. It is, however, the fairness that we are the most worried about, when maximum parking fines are capped far lower than some long-stay parking fees, private businesses may see unauthorised parking on the rise, with motorists banking on paying a lower fee (with a discount for paying within the first 14 days too).
We actually discussed the topic of creating a single governing body and how this could positively impact the parking industry and motorists alike, as well as some of the dangers that considerably lower fines could pose on the general public in Brake the Mould Parking Podcast.
The British Parking Association recently shared an article on how this may actually mean that responsible motorists will loose out the most if the new laws come into effect. Read the full article on their blog.