Councils throughout England and Wales have been told by the Department of Transport to loosen their grip on clamping on public roads, a move which is warmly welcomed by the RAC Foundation.
Cars clamped on the public highway will become a rare sight as the new measures proposed yesterday will cuts through the confusion of local authority red tape and free motorists from overzealous wardens and unfair fines.
Under the new guidelines local authorities “should not seek to make a surplus” through clamping and are asked to consider clamping as a last resort and in limited circumstances, such as for repeat offenders. Councils are to make sure that parking penalities are proportionate to the seriousness of the parking offence and towing should only be used if the car is causing an obstruction to traffic movement on the highway. Imobolising cars and the impact this has on car parking space availability is also highlighted and parking inspectors are being recommended to give a 15 minute grace period before ticketing vehicles.
This new guidance will come as welcome news to motorists although many local authorities have already adopted the persistant offender-only approach and only a few set ticket collecting targets for revenue generation purposes. Clamping on private land is where the real problem lies and it is disappointing that this has not been dealt with by the guidance.
The RAC Foundation has consistently highlighted the problems associated with the largely unregulated industry of clamping on private land, currently overseen by the Security Industry Authority (SIA). Unfortunately this guidance is a real missed opportunity to provide overall protection to motorists and the Foundation will continue to campaign for a better regime to deal with some of the “cowboy clampers” operating within the law, but with no enforced code of conduct on private land.
Media coverage of yesterdays story as follows;