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That’s parking mad! Enforcement firms want to raise the maximum fine to £120… as ministers are poised to LOWER it to £50
- British Parking Association (BPA) insists cap for fines should be raised to £120
- Critics pointed out it would take up two days’ wages for some frontline workers
- It comes as ministers are poised to reduce the current cap from £100 to £50
Parking firms were branded ‘crazy’ yesterday after arguing fines should rise to the equivalent of two days’ pay for a key worker on the minimum wage.
Ministers are poised to reduce the current cap of £100 to £50. But the British Parking Association (BPA) claimed it should be raised to £120.
Motoring groups pointed out it would take a key worker on a 35-hour-a-week, £8.91-an-hour minimum wage contract, two days to pay off a £120 ticket.
The BPA says fines of £50, discounted to £25 if paid within 14 days, would be seen as a ‘bargain’ to motorists compared to the price of parking and that they may opt for a fine instead.
Parking firms have argued fines should be increased amid brazen claims it will ‘protect the NHS’ and help reduce CO2 emissions
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: ‘How can it ever be justified for someone who parks with a wheel over the line or overstays by ten minutes to be fined a day’s wage or even more?
‘It is crazy to suggest that current enforcement charges outside London are not high enough to be a deterrent. Nobody wants to end up paying a fine whatever the cost.’
BPA chief Andrew Pester said: ‘We are calling on the Government to reconsider its proposal to reduce the level of parking charge and to further engage with landowners and parking operators to ensure a sufficient deterrent, which is effective and improves compliance with parking rules.’
The BPA’s call comes after it emerged this week that parking firms issued more than 22,000 tickets to drivers every day – or 15 every minute – in the first six months of this financial year (2021/22). This adds up to demands of £400million.
Ministers, who pledged a crackdown on ‘cowboy’ firms, plan to this year introduce a new Government-sanctioned code of practice for the private parking industry.
It will include a single appeals service and a system of charges and penalties that would be more in line with those levied by councils. The cap on fines would be lowered from £100 to £50.
The more stringent regulations would aim to clamp down on the ruthless practices of some private firms, which run thousands of car parks at hospitals, shopping centres, motorway services and train stations.
The proposed legislation is still awaiting ministerial sign-off.
The RAC’s roads policy chief, Nicholas Lyes, said: ‘No driver ever tries to get a parking charge notice, so the idea a lower penalty cap will mean more fines being dished out is baseless.
‘The majority simply want to park, abide by the rules, do their business and leave the car park without incident.’
How to appeal a parking fine issued by a private enforcement company
1 – Check if the company who fined you is accredited by the British Parking Association or the International Parking Community by checking the member lists on their websites. If they are not they won’t be able to get your name and address from the DVLA.
If you get the letter from a company that does not belong to either of the above organisations, then they have got your address so you should reply. However, you can write to the DVLA to make sure they have not got your details illegally.
Also make sure you write to the institution that owns the site you were fined on – such as a school or hospital – to state you were a genuine customer. Many ParkingEye contracts include a ‘genuine customer exemption’, which means that if you were a genuine customer or service user the ticket could be cancelled.
2 – Write to the parking company to appeal the ticket, including any evidence you have that it was wrongly issued. This could include a valid pay and display ticket, photos of signs that are hard to see or misleading, permission from the landowner or a letter from a witness who can confirm what happened.
According to Citizens Advice, the notice to the vehicle’s owner must be delivered within 14 days after the last day of parking. If it isn’t delivered to you in time, tell the parking company you don’t have to pay the charge.
3 – If you are unhappy with their response then you can appeal to the independent arbitrators. For members of the BPA go to Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPA); for the IPC use the Independent Appeals Service.
4 – If your appeal is rejected then you should pay or the parking company will take you to court. When you can pay you should write that you are ‘paying under protest’ and keep a copy. If you still think you were wrongly fined you can take the firm to small claims court to try and reclaim the money.
Appealing a parking ticket issued by a council is a slightly different process. Visit Citizens Advice for more details and support.
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