Private parking charges to be halved to £50 - here are all the details
Private car park operators in England, Scotland and Wales will no longer be able to issue parking tickets above £50 in the majority of circumstances, under new rules set out by the Government. The move will cut the value of tickets in half and also push operators to better display pricing policies and their terms and conditions.
Update: 24 June 2022: The Government has said it is temporarily withdrawing the implementation of the new rules pending a review of the levels of private parking charges and fees. This means that, for now, drivers could still be fined more than £50. The new rules were supposed to bring private parking rules more closely in line with council parking rules.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at motoring group RAC, said: "The new private parking code of practice was designed specifically to make things fairer for drivers and end some of the worst practices in the sector.
"It’s deeply disappointing that the code has been temporarily withdrawn, which now almost certainly means yet more delays in it being introduced. Drivers have a right to feel infuriated."
Private parking operators issue more than 20,000 parking tickets every day across the UK, with some accused of having confusing and misleading signage that makes drivers more susceptible to charges compared to parking in a council operated bay.
If you think you've been unfairly charged after parking in a privately operated car park, see our Fight Unfair Parking Tickets guide, which explains how to best appeal. It's also worth reading How to Park Right, which explains how best to avoid getting a parking ticket.
The new rules will bring private parking more in line with council rules
Private parking operators must put the new rules into place by the end of 2023 at the latest. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) are responsible for ensuring the rules are followed. Operators that fail to comply can be banned from accessing DVLA data, which means they'd struggle to contact people, or they could even be barred from collecting charges from motorists at all.
These are the key new measures the 'Parking (Code of Practice) Act', which became law in March 2019, will introduce:
- Parking firms must clearly display their pricing and T&Cs. Up until now, private firms have faced little regulation when it comes to displaying pricing and the small print.
- Motorists will be able to leave any car park within 5 minutes of arrival if they decide not to park. For those car parks that use CCTV and number plate recognition, if you leave within 5 minutes of entering you won't be liable for a charge if you had yet to pay.
- Firms will have to give drivers 10-minutes leeway before issuing late charges. Currently, firms can issue late charges as soon as parking tickets expire.
- The majority of parking tickets will be capped. The cap will be reduced by half from £100 to £50. Notable exceptions include circumstances such as abusing Blue Badge bays or if a motorist is trespassing on private land. Motorists will also be offered a 50% discount if they pay within 14 days.
- Debt collection fees for late tickets will be banned. If you don't pay in time, private operators have been able to hike the original charge, but this will be forbidden under the new rules.
A new appeals process will also be created
A new, simpler appeals process is also being created under the new rules. This is designed to make it easier for disputed tickets to be cancelled. Under the system, motorists could be able to appeal their parking ticket and see it cancelled entirely if they have:
- A mitigating reason for overstaying their parking ticket, such as their vehicle breaking down.
- Made a genuine innocent error, such as keying in a digit in their number plate incorrectly when paying for parking.
- A valid ticket, permit or Blue Badge but failed to display it correctly.
See our Fight Unfair Parking Tickets guide for an explanation of the existing appeals process.
What does the Government say?
Minister for Levelling Up Neil O'Brien said: "Private firms issue roughly 22,000 parking tickets every day, often adopting a system of misleading and confusing signage, aggressive debt collection and unreasonable fees designed to extort money from motorists. [Our] new Code Of Practice will set out a clear vision with the interests of safe motorists at its heart, while cracking down on the worst offenders."