New Independent appeals service introduced to help challenge unfair parking fines

You may have heard that, as of the 1st October 2012, under provisions contained in the Protection of Freedoms Act, clamping and towing away on private land is now unlawful (unless a landowner or their agent can demonstrate lawful authority). This means that many operators who manage parking on private land will rely on the issue of parking tickets to deter motorists from breaching terms and conditions that may apply on their land.

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham commented on the new legislation: "At present parking is a showing itself to be a huge issue in Barking and Dagenham and the council, often via my office, are receiving large amounts of queries every month. The new independent appeals service that has been introduced allows people who feel they have been unfairly issued with a parking ticket after 1st October to challenge it."

If a local resident receives a ticket issued after this date and they feel it was given unfairly they should first write to the company who issued it. If the company rejects the motorist's case they must provide details of the independent appeals service. This process is similar to that which applies in car parks run by local authorities.

The service is provided by the same organisation that runs the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) for motorists who receive parking tickets from the London Boroughs. It is free to the motorist and decisions are binding on the operator. The service applies to all operators who are members of the BPA.

While the new service - known as POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals) - provides additional redress for motorists, BPA members must also comply with our Code of Practice for parking on private land and we have and will apply sanctions – which can lead to expulsion - where a contravention of the Code is proven. It should be noted, however, that POPLA will only apply to tickets issued by BPA members. Motorists who receive tickets from companies that do not belong to an Accredited Trade Association will not have the right to appeal through independent adjudication.

The BPA have produced a new guide for consumers to help them understand both the change in the law and what they can expect when they park on private land. The guide also sets out how motorists can help themselves in avoiding receiving parking tickets.

The BPA’s new guide can be viewed here as a pdf: British Parking Association