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29 July 2014

BPA responds to Daily Mail's Cowboy Jibe

The BPA has today written to the Editor of the Daily Mail.  Here's what we said:

Menace of the New Parking Cowboys – Monday 28 July 2014

The Daily Mail claims that parking companies are using a loophole in the Protection of Freedoms Act to “fleece motorists” and quotes The AA, which slates the British Parking Association as “inmates running the jail.” 

The BPA is extremely proud that it has introduced effective self-regulation given the government’s resolute refusal to provide for proper regulation. In October 2012 Patrick Troy CEO of the BPA said “The Protection of Freedoms Act ushers in perhaps the most significant shake up of the private parking industry ever seen in this country and there is much that we and the Government can be proud of. However, the regulations do not yet go far enough. An independent appeals service which is not binding on all operators is likely to be a recipe for confusion among motorists and a ban on clamping is no substitute for proper regulation of the industry.” How right he was!

We have put in place a full Code of Practice; with full independent annual audits to ensure compliance, coupled with a scheme of sanctions which has seen five members expelled in recent years. Of course we want to make certain that parking enforcement is undertaken fairly, reasonably and responsibly and that’s why we delivered an independent appeal service, PoPLA, which in the past 12 months has allowed 30,000 motorists to lodge appeals. None of this would exist without the intervention of the BPA. Not bad for ‘inmates’ is it?

Incidentally The AA, has persistently refused to join our Approved Operator Scheme management board, unlike many others including the RAC Foundation, Disabled Motoring UK, The FTA, the Association of Residential Managing Agents and other organisations who represent motorists and consumers.

The ill-conceived ban on wheel-clamping means that parking tickets are now the only way in which landowners can manage their land and to deal with selfish motorists, who occupy residents’ parking spaces when they shouldn't, obstruct disabled persons’ parking spaces and misuse retail car parks for example. Schedule 4 simply enables this to work effectively. Quite how it can describe Schedule 4 of an Act of Parliament as a ‘loophole’ defies logic. 

But there are always two sides to every story and it is important that motorists understand their responsibilities when choosing where to park and the BPA would strongly recommend that drivers always acquaint themselves with the parking conditions before leaving their cars and DO NOT ignore Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) issued by private parking operators.

And so to your new campaign, which seems to want to undermine the validity and use of those same parking tickets. Your campaign whilst championing the cause of the motorist completely stymies the rights of landowners everywhere who will have no effective means to control who parks on their land. Now that would be an unintended consequence surely?

The real ‘rogues’ here are Government for its failure to properly regulate and the Daily Mail for its ill-conceived populist campaigns.

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