January Parking Roundup - Unity Recruitment

There's been plenty of goings-on that will be of interest to people with parking jobs this month. We take a look at some of the main stories below.

RAC Foundation hits out at private parking charges

Parking has been in the headlines this month, with the RAC Foundation releasing a report that hits out at the charges being handed out for private parking across the UK. According to the organisation's research, millions of motorists may have been illegally fined for parking on private land and could be entitled to repayments totaling tens of millions of pounds.

The RAC Foundation said many people are receiving tickets for up to £100, many of which it claims have no legal basis. 

John de Waal, a barrister at law firm Hardwicke, who has produced a report on the issue for the organisation, stated: "Payments at the level that operators presently demand as sanctions are unlikely to count as genuine pre-estimate of loss; they should be seen by the courts as penalties, which means they are unenforceable."

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, added: "Ministers thought that the ban on clamping would end parking problems on private land. As we warned at the time, they were wrong. They allowed a system of ticketing to emerge which is barely regulated."

He said the organisation would like to see the legality of private land parking charges tested in court - a case that would be of great industry to the parking sector as a whole. 

BPA hits back

The RAC Foundation's claims have drawn a response from the British Parking Association (BPA), which has defended the way in which private parking is managed. It noted that there are 34 million vehicles on the UK's roads and said it has been forced to introduce "effective self-regulation given the government’s resolute refusal to provide for proper regulation".

"It’s very easy to avoid parking enforcement: don’t park where you shouldn’t and pay when you should, and it's important to remember that the vast majority of motorists never receive a parking ticket," the BPA stated.

It pointed to independent adjudicator POPLA as an avenue motorists can explore should they be unhappy with a charge they have received. The BPA said in excess of 57,500 appeals have been submitted since POPLA's launch in 2012 and there has never been a case in which a parking operator has rejected the adjudicator's decision. It added that the appeals judged by POPLA equate to only one per cent of the tickets that have been issued since its launch.

Patrick Troy, BPA chief executive, stated: "POPLA offers motorists a simple, free appeals service for parking tickets issued on private land."

Whether the RAC Foundation's claims are accurate remains to be seen, and the BPA has presented a convincing defence of the parking sector. However, it would be beneficial for the industry as a whole if any rogue practices are rooted out.

Upcoming events
The next few months will see some upcoming events that may be of interest to parking professionals. On March 6th, the British Parking Awards - run by Parking Review and Landor LINKS - are taking place in London, while on April 21st the parking exhibition Parkex will be held at the NEC in Birmingham.

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