The Protection of Freedoms Act was introduced in 2012. It contains new laws to deal with parking on private land which are due to came into effect in October 2012 . As has been demanded by the public for years, wheel clamping on private land has now become illegal. Specifically, wheel clamping without lawful authority has become illegal. Lawful authority allows for exceptions where there is specific legislation, such as certain train station car parks or public roads.
However, section 56 of the Act introduces a change in law to make the keeper of a vehicle liable for parking charges incurred on private land if the keeper does not know the identity of the driver at the time. Previously for private parking fines, the land owner could only pursue the driver of the vehicle at the time since that is who they had a contract with. Have a look at our page on keeper liability for detailed information about what this means.
One of the conditions for putting the legislation in place was the establishment of an independent appeals service for private parking tickets. The appeals service is called POPLA – or Parking on Private Land Appeals. At the time of writing POPLA has not been running long enough to draw any firm conclusions – but we do now have a page that examines the early results from POPLA. However, what should be noted is that if you do appeal to POPLA and your appeal is not upheld, that does not make the ticket any more enforceable than it was before, so effectively you have nothing to lose by appealing.
Some private parking companies may still offer their own appeals processes, but, as you can read in this section of the site, these types of appeals are rarely upheld since it is not in their interest to do so, and nor is the appeals process scrutinised by a regulator.
Clearly this law will change the landscape of private parking enforcement. We will update the site to reflect this as the situation develops.
The official POPLA website can be found here. An unofficial POPLA guide can be found here.
For more information on the clamping ban, see here.