CALLS are mounting for proper regulation and licensing of former clamping firms who are back demanding cash from motorists.
Yesterday the Daily Echo revealed how private operators are back in business following the ban on clamping – this time handing out parking tickets and threatening motorists with bailiffs.
One such driver was Derek Lunn who said he was shocked to be handed a parking ticket by a former clamping firm while he was at the machine getting a ticket for his dashboard.
The 51-year-old from Marchwood was parked at Totton Retail Park and says he walked 30 yards to a machine to get a ticket for one hour's free parking.
But he returned to his car three minutes later to find himself with a ticket and charge from Premier Parking Solutions, who were last night unavailable for comment.
Today the Daily Echo has launched a Fair Deal for Drivers campaign which calls for an industry tarnished by heavy-handed behaviour to be licensed and regulated. The Automobile Association and politicians such as Southampton Itchen MP John Denham have got behind the campaign.
Paul Watters, head of road policy at the Hampshire-based AA, said that by licensing the firms they would have to stick to the rules governing council parking wardens.
He said: “If they failed to comply they would lose their licence, it would be really easy.”
On October 1 the Government introduced the Protection of Freedom Act making clamping on private land illegal. But it did allow the former clamping firms to ticket cars and pursue drivers using DVLA data. But Mr Watters said the legislation had left the door open for the Government to introduce new rules.
Criticised Along with Mr Denham, he criticised a new independent appeal service which is paid for by British Parking Association (BPA) which operates a self regulation system for the private parking industry.
The BPA said the service it pays for, known as Parking on Private Land Appeals, or POPLA, was an important step towards fair ticketing.
But as revealed in the Daily Echo, unlike independent appeal hearings for council-issued tickets, POPLA makes all its decision behind closed doors with people having no right to attend.
Mr Denham said: “In principle the whole thing is completely wrong. There ought to be a system of independent appeals which is based on the local authority system.”
The MP also accused the Government of not thinking through the consequences of the law changes which had been instigated by calls to protect the driver from threatening private operators.
He said: “I think there needs to be proper regulation and licensing. You can’t have people issuing parking tickets and trying to enforce them without proper regulation.”
He added: “There have been some colourful characters in the clamping industry in the south coast and not the people you would necessarily want accessing DVLA data.”
n Have you been caught? Have you received a ticket from these firms or a similar one? Contact Patrick Knox on 023 8042 4501 or email email@example.com.