August 17, 2010 3.38 pm This story is over 165 months old

A cure for wheel clamping in Lincoln

Clamped: Businesses won’t be able to clamp cars on private land in Lincoln, in a victory for motorists across the country.

Lincolnites are welcoming an upcoming Government ban on wheel clamping on private land. Private firms will be banned from clamping or towing cars in Lincoln, but they will still be able to ticket parked cars.

Wheel clamping on private land is said to be worth around £1bn nationally every year, but also generated countless complaints from people feeling extorted by the private companies enforcing the practice.

The ban, expected to come into force early next year, will put private wheel clamping companies out of business. Once the ban is in force, anyone clamping cars on private land will face fines of up to £5,000, and even jail time.

Security companies will still be able to ticket cars parked on private land, and landowners can also install barriers to prevent parking on their property’s premises.

Welcoming the change

“I am very happy about the changes,” said Alex Colman (22), who got clamped on several occasions in Lincoln. “I can understand that clamping is supposed to be a deterrent, but the private companies who enforce the clamping charge an extortionate amount, and use bully boy tactics.”

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney supported the ban: “I warmly welcome the plan to limit wheel clamping because we can no longer have cowboy operators running around charging extortionate fees without any redress for those caught, often unfairly, for parking their vehicles.”

“It undermines people’s confidence in the law if some people who operate car clamping schemes seem to be able to act outside it, so that’s why these changes need to come in,” he added.

— Four different Lincoln wheel clamping companies declined to comment.

New powers for police

Police will be given new powers to tow cars from public land, where cars are abandoned or left in a dangerous place. People will have the right of appeal to an independent tribunal, which can quash unfair charges.

As with current parking charges regulations, anyone who refuses to pay charges incurred will face the same sanctions that applies to public roads or council car parks, including visits from bailiffs, or appearances at small claims courts.

“In the future we will be granted powers to remove vehicles that are parked or abandoned in a dangerous position on private land, where they may hamper or prevent access by the emergency services, for example,” explained Dick Holmes, spokesperson for Lincolnshire Police.

“Lincolnshire Police do not, and generally will not be getting involved in the thorny problem of parking on private land or premises. In general terms parking incidents and disputes are civil as opposed to a criminal matters,” Holmes added.

Related Reports: The Guardian, Daily Mail, The Telegraph, BBC News