Government plans to limit parking fines from private companies to £50 have been delayed, with a further review into parking charges holding up implementation. The new rules, which aim to bring private car park operators in line with council-run parking companies, are part of the Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019. Firms were supposed to comply by the end of 2023 or risk sanctions from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), but it's unclear whether that deadline will remain following this latest round of review and consultation.
As well as halving the maximum fine from £100, car parks will need to have clear signage, allow the driver 10-minutes' leeway after their ticket has expired and have a clear and easy-to-use appeal process.
What do the new rules mean for motorists?
Assuming they remain largely unchanged following the supplementary review period, the rules, which were developed by the DVLA and the government's Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, should make it less likely for motorists to be given unfair and overly expensive parking fines. Currently, private operators issue 22,000 parking fines each day.
The rules state that private parking companies must:
- limit most fines to £50, with a discount of 50% if it is paid within 14 days. There is an exception for those parking in Blue Badge bays without a valid badge or trespassing on private land
- have clear signage detailing prices and terms and conditions
- allow drivers to leave within 5 minutes if they decide not to park without charge
- give drivers 10-minute leeway after their ticket has expired before issuing a fine
- not add additional debt collection fees to unpaid fines
However, it is worth noting that, with the new delay, motorists will still be subject to the previous rules and so could still face fines of up to £100, as well as not enjoying the other rights outlined above.
How will the appeal process for parking fines change?
Private parking companies will be required to have a simpler appeal process for those who believe they have received an unfair parking fine. In the future, motorists will be able to challenge tickets on the basis that:
- They had a reason for overstaying, such as their car breaking down
- They made a genuine error, such as inputting their number plate incorrectly
- They had a valid ticket or permit but it wasn't displayed correctly
Why has there been a delay?
The Government has delayed the start of the new regime for private parking companies as it awaits the results of a review of current parking charges and fees. It is as yet unclear how long this review will take, whether it will lead to any changes in the rules and whether the deadline for companies to put them into practice will also be pushed back.