The Government has taken a key step in making sure that drivers’ interests are protected when using private car parks by launching an eight-week call for evidence on the Private Parking Code of Practice, focusing on the impact of changes to charges and debt recovery fees.
Options under consideration include reducing the current £100 charge limit to £50 which would halve parking charges for millions of motorists, as well as potentially banning debt recovery fees altogether, which are currently as much as £70, or retaining existing limits.
The call for evidence on charges and debt recovery paves the way for the development of the final Private Parking Code of Practice, which when introduced aims to ensure fewer drivers are penalised unfairly and tackle issues like confusing and misleading signs, and lack of grace periods. It will ensure a simpler, fairer and more transparent industry, and introduce a fairer appeals process.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said:
Millions of people across the country use private car parks and we want this to continue without them having the fear of being slapped with unfair and costly charges.
Our new Private Parking Code of Practice will put this right, delivering a much fairer system for drivers and industry - and today’s call for evidence is an important part of shaping this policy. I encourage everyone to come forward and have their say.
The draft Impact Assessment considers the following five proposals and how they will impact the sector:
- Retain £100 charge limit with a 40% discount for paying within 14 days, with the debt recovery fees cap at £70.
- Charges set at two levels depending on seriousness of offence with £50/70 for England and Wales (outside London), £80/£130 in London and £80/100 for Scotland, with a 50% discount for paying within 14 days. Debt recovery fees would be reduced to 30% of charge levels.
- Same as the second option but debt recovery fees would be banned.
- Charges set at two levels depending on seriousness of offence at £70/£100, with the discount for paying within 14 days remaining at 40%. Debt recovery fees would be reduced to 30% of charge levels.
- Same as the fourth option but debt recovery fees would be banned.
The call for evidence is focused on understanding the implications of the measures proposed to address issues in the private parking industry, and to inform decisions on parking charges and debt recovery fees.
The measures will be a major boost to millions of motorists in England, Scotland and Wales and will help to draw people back to their local high streets.
A draft Impact Assessment has been published alongside the call for evidence, with contributions open until 24 September 2023. A further consultation is then planned on the options for parking charges and debt recovery fees.
Minister for Levelling Up Dehenna Davison said:
We all know how annoying parking can be – from driving around endlessly to being met with complicated signs and impossible terms and conditions.
It’s needlessly confusing, and that’s why we’re pushing ahead with the Private Parking Code of Practice to create a fairer system.
Once introduced, the Private Parking Code of Practice – required by the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019 – will allow drivers to more easily challenge an unfair parking charge through a new independent appeals service, and all private parking operators will also have to follow the Code.