Greater rights for motorists

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Monday, 01 Oct 2012

Sign reading private car park

From today, motorists will be given greater rights as new laws banning wheel clamping and towing take effect.

It is now an offence to clamp, tow, block-in or immobilise a vehicle without lawful authority on private land under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

These changes will end abuses by rogue clamping firms who prey on motorists by charging excessive release fees. If clampers break the law, they could be liable to an unlimited fine in the Crown Court or up to £5,000 in a Magistrates Court.

Saving motorists £55m a year

Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the Home Office Minister with responsibility for changes to vehicle clamping law, said: 'This common sense ban will give motorists the protection they deserve against rogue wheel-clamping and towing companies.

'It will save motorists £55 million each year in clamping charges and finally penalise the real criminals – the corrupt firms themselves.'

Other changes

Other changes include extending police powers to remove vehicles parked on private land, ensuring landowners can keep their land clear from obstructively parked cars.

The Department for Transport is also strengthening laws around ticketing, so unpaid charges can be claimed from the keeper of the vehicle, as well as the driver.

In addition, the British Parking Association has set up an Independent Appeals Service to allow motorists to appeal parking charges on private land.

'Your Freedom' survey

These changes were all raised by members of the public through a cross-government survey, ‘Your Freedom’.

People had the chance to suggest ideas on restoring liberties that have been lost, repealing unnecessary laws and stripping away excessive regulation.

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