Parking Fine Appeals Panel to be Set Up
Government says private firms can't regulate themselves
A new independent appeals panel to stop motorists from being unfairly fined by unscrupulous private car parking companies is to be established.
Transport minister Sadiq Khan said self-regulation was not working and the government needed to step in.
Currently there is little regulation of the private car parking industry and no independent adjudicator.
Drivers have complained of a lack of accountability, heavy-handed tactics and threats of county court judgements.
In Ealing,Trading Standards officers have been investigating the activities of the private firm 'Park Direct'.
The firm monitors a dozen private parking bays for businesses outside Ealing Broadway station.
Last year The Daily Mail sent in an undercover team after receiving numerous complaints about the company.
Ealing Today forum members have also reported problems with private car parking firms.
There are 26,000 permanent private car parks in the UK. Most complaints come from people fined on these sites, but there are now calls for reform of the entire private parking industry.
The AA said it believed the industry was "running amok".
Paul Waters from the organisation said:"It's really rapidly growing; they are trying to extort more and more sums from people. Enforcement is quite heavy-handed, in the night and in the day. They target people through number plate-reading cameras.
"People sometimes do not even know there are restrictions in force and they get a penalty in the post later."
The AA welcomed the move to establish a new panel but said it hoped the complicated legislation would get through parliament before the election, or motorists would continue to be victims of unscrupulous operators.
January 10th, 2010