Government Consultation on Parking Code of Practice

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) has announced that for four weeks ‘during the summer’, it will conduct a further technical consultation on its proposed Parking Code of Practice.

There has already been a previous consultation, which ran from 31 August 2020 until 12 October 2020. MHCLG’s response to that exercise was published on 20 March 2021.

The Code of Practice has since been drafted, but stakeholders, including private parking companies, landowners and motorists, will be invited to comment on the proposals before any final decisions on the content of the Code are made.

One of the flagship proposals for the Code is a single, harmonised appeals process rather than the non-uniform procedures which currently exist. Further, MHCLG proposes a tiered system for parking charges, aligned with the model deployed by local authority parking schemes, which is based on the severity of the offence. The intention is to reduce most the cost of parking charge notices to below the £100 level which the private parking industry currently employs.

The Framework Consultation previously published proposed a three-tiered system, which received 81% support within the responses to the consultation:

  • Upper level charges of up to £120 (reduced to £70 where appropriate) for contraventions such as parking in ambulance or disabled bays where ineligible, or outside fire escapes/in hatched-marked areas
  • Middle level charges of a maximum of £100 (reduced to £60) for breaches such as overstaying a paid-for period or a maximum free period, parking in reserved parent and toddler bays, and parking across multiple bays
  • Lower level charges of up to £80 (reduced to £50) for breaches such as displaying a permit which is not valid for the area in which the vehicle is parked, displaying an expired permit, or parking in bays meant for other vehicle classes such as motorbikes

MHCLG has stated:

We intend to bring private parking charges into closer alignment with Local Authority PCNs, including its system of 50% discounts for early payment and the distinction between London and Outside London. In London, the new parking charge caps will mirror Local Authority Band A. This means that on all types of private land (for example, customer car parks, residents’ car parks or private land where parking is not invited), more serious breaches can attract a charge of up to £130, while less serious breaches are liable to receive a charge of up to £80.

Outside of London, we will mirror Local Authority Band 2 for the majority of private car parking spaces: car parks where parking is invited, either to any member of the public or to customers of public-facing business e.g. supermarkets or shopping centres. On these types of land, more serious breaches of the terms and conditions can incur a parking charge of up to £70 and less serious breaches up to £50.

The proposed differential is a charge which is higher by £30 for a parking contravention which occurs within London compared with one that takes place outside London. It is proposed that an early payment incentive shall apply across all PCNs, being a 50% discount for PCNs paid within 14 days.

There is as yet no news as to when the further consultation shall launch, but it is known that it will be open for four weeks, and it is anticipated that the responses shall be invited in writing, via email or post, and possibly via an online web-based form, as per the previous consultation.

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