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Since 1995 local authorities in England have had the ability to assume control for parking enforcement in their areas from the police. Almost all local authorities have now assumed these powers. This means that parking offences on the public highway are not dealt with by the police and the courts but by the civil authorities – the local authority and an independent traffic tribunal which hears appeals. The law on civil parking enforcement was revised and consolidated in 2004, and the current arrangements came into force in 2008.

In the past, parking enforcement on private land has been more complicated – and more controversial. Due to changes brought into force in October 2012 under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, private landowners have been able to claim parking charges against the keeper of a vehicle if evidence of the driver’s identity cannot be found. Two independent appeals bodies, POPLA and the IAS, have been set up to hear cases, saving both landowners and vehicle owners/drivers the cost of going to court. These measures were introduced alongside the ban on wheel clamping on private land.

Since 2013 the Government has introduced changes to the use of CCTV to enforce parking restrictions, a new 10 minutes’ grace period, and a right to challenge local parking policies. It has consulted on how parking enforcement works on private land but has not brought forward any changes. Sir Greg Knight’s private member’s bill to establish a statutory code of practice for private parking enforcement companies is currently progressing through Parliament. The Bill has all party support.

Information about parking in Scotland can be found on the Transport Scotland website; information about Wales can be found on the Welsh Government website; and information about Northern Ireland can be found on the NI Direct website.

Information on other parking-related matters, such as traffic wardens, on-street or ‘pavement’ parking, parking for disabled people and wheel clamping can be found on the Roads Briefings Page of the Parliament website.

Documents to download

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