Government urged to take action over parking fines on private land
The issue came to the fore during an ACFO debate, which saw representatives of trade associations, the British Parking Association and the International Parking Community (previously the Independent Parking Committee), as well as enforcement company Parking Eye agree that a more efficient and effective regime was required.
Highlighting that digitalisation would speed up both the processing and payment of fines and any possible appeal process as well as delivering a robust management audit trail, chairman John Pryor said: “The entire parking fines process is stuck in the dark ages. We will take the issue to government and look to them to put pressure on the enforcement organisations to modernise.”
The debate heard how rental and leasing companies were employing teams of people to manage the fines process as they continued to be issued on an “industrial scale”.
Meanwhile ACFO member Glenn Ewen, fleet manager at Clear Channel UK, which operates a fleet of some 160 cars and 369 commercial vehicles, said the firm receives up to 12 fine notices per day.
He added: “Handling fines relating to parking on private land is the most stressful; signage in car parks is often inadequate; the appeal process is a farce and often drivers give up and just pay the fine. The whole situation needs to be readdressed and the process digitalised.”
Joanna Audley-Charles, public affairs and media officer, British Parking Association, said the organisation was calling for better regulation including both a single appeals service and code of practice.
The British Parking Association has had a memorandum of understanding with the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association in place since 2013 relating to the transfer of fine liability and it is currently being reviewed. Separately, the International Parking Community is also talking to the organisation about its own memorandum of understanding.
Meanwhile, John Davies, director of the International Parking Community, said it was incumbent on fleet operators to educate drivers to comply with parking notices on private land and thereby avoid the risk of receiving a Parking Charge Notice and a potential maximum £100 fine.
He told operators: “The best thing you can do is to encourage your drivers to familiarise themselves with the parking signs on private land. Parking charges are here to stay so we have to deal with them the best we can and remove confusion and anxiety.”