The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has opened its further technical consultation on private parking charges, inviting views from stakeholders on (amongst other things) the proposed level of charges, the level of debt recovery fees and a unified Appeals Charter. The exercise opened on Friday 30 July 2021; in particular, MHCLG is canvassing the views of parking operators, landowners and motorists.
This technical consultation was announced following the publication of the Parking Code enforcement framework consultation. The industry reaction to the framework consultation included a threatened judicial review of the governments handling of the introduction of a Parking Code of Practice heretofore. MHCLG’s reply was to announce this further technical consultation to gather additional views before the implementation of the new Code of Practice.
The Code has been drafted with the British Standards Institution – a draft version was published last year. The Code is accompanied by further documents, including the Parking Code Enforcement Framework; it is the latter document on which the current technical consultation is focused.
MHCLG has previously announced its intention to:
- create a single appeals service
- publish an Appeals Charter to protect motorists from charges that are unfair or issued in error
- produce a Certification Scheme, assessed by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service, to which parking trade associations must adhere if their members wish to request access to DVLA data
- create a Scrutiny and Oversight Board which oversees the new system’s implementation
- more closely mimic Local Authority Penalty Charge Notices, including its system of 50% discounts for early payment
The proposed system is a three-tier system so as to make charges proportionate to the nature of the contravention and the level of harm caused. There is also a distinction between higher charges in Greater London and outside London. The proposed charges are set out at paragraph 27 of the ‘Background’ section on this page.
A proposed cap of £70 on debt recovery fees is mooted; MHCLG also proposes to include a requirement for operators who intend to levy debt recovery fees to state the term visibly on signage. This is so as to ensure that the terms are expressly displayed at multiple locations and are written in plain and intelligible language for the average consumer to understand.
MHCLG has announced that during the week commencing 9 August 2021, an online event will take place, for prospective respondents ‘to raise any questions in relation to the proposals or consultation process more generally.’ Further details are promised ‘shortly’.
The timeline for the overhaul to the regime for private parking charges has been revised (that is, elongated) as a result of the technical consultation. In Autumn 2021 the Government plans to respond to the consultation and publish the final Code of Practice. By Winter 2021 the aim is for the Certification Scheme to be finalised with United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) and for the Scrutiny and Oversight Board to be appointed.
In Spring 2022, MHCLG aims to sign-off on its delivery model for the single appeals service and for there to be UKAS Accreditation for the certifying bodies. The single appeals service is to be in place by Summer 2022, with parking operators expected to operate under the rules of the new regime by that time.
From early 2022 to early 2023, Conformity Assessment Bodies will begin certifying parking operators against the requirements of the Code. Trade associations will be awarded Accredited Parking Association (APA) status by Secretary of State.
Responses are welcomed via:
- email to email@example.com
- completion of an online form
- writing to Further Technical Consultation on Private Parking Charges, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 3rd Floor, South East Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
The consultation is open for 28 days, until 11:45pm on 27 August 2021.