Alex Chalk MP backs new Bill to combat ‘Modern-day Parking Pirates’

A bill to tackle 'unfair' parking tickets issued by private parking companies has been passed in the House of Commons, with the backing of Cheltenham's MP, Alex Chalk. The Bill was discussed on Friday 23rd November. It will now go to the House of Lords for approval and should become law next year.

The Bill introduces a national code of conduct for private car park operators.  It will cap charges at £100 and bring in a compulsory 10 minute grace period.  It will also give drivers an easier process to appeal tickets through a new independent appeals service.

Speaking in the debate, Mr Chalk raised the case of a Cheltenham constituent whose car had been wrongly ticketed for parking on his own property by a private parking company.  The company had not bothered to check land ownership details with the Land Registry. Mr Chalk highlighted this in support of his argument for stronger regulation of private parking companies.

Mr Chalk said: “It’s time to stop rogue private parking firms exploiting the system.  Too often their behaviour is threatening and abuses the system.  When someone is faced with what looks like an official letter demanding considerable sums of money, they can become enormously distressed. Little wonder that some of these companies have been described as modern-day pirates.”

Mr Chalk has previously raised the issue in the House of Commons on a number of occasions through Parliamentary questions, challenging the Minister to review parking charges.  He added:

“Too many of these companies are a law unto themselves.  I’ve taken up a number of cases on behalf of constituents here in Cheltenham.  But it shouldn’t always need my intervention to get these firms to back down. I’m pleased that we are taking steps to curb their excess and give motorists the confidence of a formal and independent appeals process.”

Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: 

''We particularly welcome the proposal for a single, independent appeals service, which, together with a single, clear code of practice should establish a better, clearer framework and a level playing field that is fairer for all.''