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Miles Briggs Encourages Lothian Residents to Get Involved with Consultation over Private Members Bill to Clamp Down on Private Parking Firms

The Scottish Conservative Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Murdo Fraser,  has launched a Private Members Bill to better regulate rogue private parking firms.

The planned Private Members Bill will focus on five key areas:

  • The introduction of a fully independent appeals service in Scotland
  • Capped fines
  • Clearer signage in car parks
  • Removal of misleading terms on fines
  • Keeper Liability to mirror England and Wales

A three month consultation period has commenced this week to allow member of the public and those in the parking industry are invited to give input into the proposed Private Members Bill.

Miles Briggs, Scottish Conservative and Unionist MPS for Lothian, comments:

“I welcome this Private Members Bill that has been put forward by Murdo Fraser MSP.   

“Even though private parking firms are legitimate, they should not be allowed free reign run rough shod over unsuspecting motorists.

“I agree with Murdo that there should be a fair balance between parkers and operators and that this balance has been tipped too far in the direction of the operators.

“Clear signage is crucial to prevent the misleading of motorists and an independent appeals service will allow for the impartial judging of cases.

“This Private Members Bill will provide more clarity around the rules for private parking firms and make the industry more fair.”

“I encourage Lothian constituents to take part in the consultation on this proposed Private Members Bill”.

ENDs…..

*Link to consultation: http://www.parliament.scot/gettinginvolved/106912.aspx

* Please find description of proposals below.

Notes to Editors

Description of proposals

Charges

The aim of this Bill would be to create a mechanism whereby a reasonable maximum sum, or a range of maximum sums, can be charged for the breach of parking rules by drivers in privately-operated car parks. For decriminalised on-street parking, Scottish local authorities have set two levels of charging. This currently sits at £60 reduced to £30 if paid within a certain period - typically 14 days. I believe a similar charging regime would benefit both drivers and private parking operators. 

Signage                                              

As there is already Scottish law regarding appropriate signage for business contracts, the aim of this Bill would be to tailor this to all privately-operated car parks. This uniform signage would make clear to those entering a private car park in a vehicle that they are entering into a contract with the car park owner. It would clearly outline the terms and conditions, make clear the charges payable and the penalties for any breach. There would also be rules about the appearance and size of signs. Similarly, there would be guidelines for the placement of the signs to increase clarity. The European Commission may have to be notified of any changes to the regulations surrounding signage.

Appearance of invoices  

The proposed Bill would create set standards for clear, consistent and distinct invoices in order to differentiate them from a legally enforceable penalty charge notice. A number of privately-operated car park operators distribute invoices with titles and appearances that closely resemble penalties issued from the Police or local authorities. This Bill would set standards to clearly differentiate private and legally enforceable penalties. As mentioned previously, any legislative changes that impact the appearance of invoices may have to be notified to the European Commission.

Appeals process

In the majority of cases, there is no independent appeals system in Scotland. As mentioned previously, the IPC has extended its independent appeals service to both Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, for most drivers, challenging the validity of a ticket can only be appealed directly to the operator or by taking them to court. In order to address this situation, the proposed Bill will establish a fully independent appeals system accessible to any motorist in dispute with a privately-operated car park in Scotland.

Keeper liability

The proposed Bill would introduce keeper liability in Scotland to reflect the position in England and Wales.

Miles Briggs