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Private car parks to introduce a 10-minute grace period

By Mathilda Bartholomew | June 28, 2024

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A legally-backed code of conduct was set to take effect by the end of last year, but the government withdrew it following challenges from parking firms.

Private car parks to introduce a 10-minute grace period

The British Parking Association (BPA) has released a new Private Parking Code of Practice to improve transparency and consistency for drivers.

One of the key features is a new rule requiring private car park operators to allow a 10-minute grace period before issuing fines or Penalty Charge Notices. The BPA says this is to protect vulnerable people, like those with disabilities, who might need more time. However, this grace period doesn’t apply to short-stay areas like airports or train station pick-up zones.

Even with the introduction of clearer signage and an updated Appeals Charter, the AA criticises the new code for not reducing the current £100 fine limit (or £60 if paid within 14 days). In 2019, the government proposed halving fines to £50, but this plan was dropped after a review in 2022.

Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of road policy, said, “This watered down ‘code of practice’ falls far short of the standards The AA, Government and consumer groups have called for across many years.”

The new code also doesn’t include a cap on debt recovery fees or legal sanctions against non-compliant car parks, both of which were part of the government’s original 2019 plan.

Currently, car parks that don’t follow the BPA’s rules can be expelled from the trade body and lose access to the DVLA’s KADOE service. This service is used to obtain vehicle keeper data and issue fines. However, there are no laws stopping these car parks from operating after being expelled.

Cousens urged the next government to implement its own code to “protect innocent drivers from the sharks running private car parks.” The RAC’s head of policy, Simon Williams, agreed, saying the BPA’s code “falls miles short of what drivers have been promised by the government”.

What do you think of the new parking rules? Share your thoughts in the comments section...

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