MSs call for clamp down on private parking firms
Two Members of the Senedd are urging people to take part in a consultation which they hope will lead to stricter rules governing how private car park companies operate.
Lesley Griffiths and Ken Skates have challenged Euro Car Parks, which runs the notorious car park at Island Green, Wrexham, after a deluge of complaints from constituents about unfair fines.
Despite managing to get some penalties overturned, the Labour pair say they are frustrated at the “arrogance” of the company and its “refusal to show any empathy or utilise any shred of commonsense”.
They are now hoping that the UK Government consultation, which has recently been extended, will lead to new legislation which will clamp down on unscrupulous practices within the industry.
Ms Griffiths, MS for Wrexham, said: “Parking at Island Green Shopping Centre has been problematic for years but the issue of suspect private parking operators issuing unfair fines to shoppers and, in turn, negatively impacting businesses is not just a Wrexham issue – it is happening in towns and cities right across the UK.
“This consultation could be the beginning of the end for these unprincipled companies and I hope people make their voices heard.
“Our long-running dispute with Euro Car Parks shows no sign of stopping and in spite of the challenges, Ken Skates MS and I will continue to explore every avenue available to help improve the situation for the people of Wrexham.”
Mr Skates, MS for Clwyd South, said: “The arrogance of companies like Euro Car Parks is clear in their refusal to show any empathy or utilise any shred of commonsense. But they’re allowed to ride roughshod over their customers because what they do is within UK law.
“I hope that if enough people respond to this consultation, UK Ministers will have no choice but to significantly tighten up the rules and close the loopholes which allow these sharks to operate with impunity and issue unfair fines to shoppers.
“I’ve had elderly and vulnerable people contact me in recent months who have received threatening letters from debt recovery firms demanding hugely inflated sums for alleged offences at Island Green and elsewhere which weren’t even committed.
“Euro Car Parks claim that even as the client of these firms they can’t intervene, which I don’t believe. I’ve asked them numerous times to confirm this, and each time they have refused to answer the question.”
The Private Parking Code of Practice Impact Assessment, published by the UK Government, states: “Since 2012, there has been a significant increase in the number of parking charges issued by private parking operators, measured by the number of requests for vehicle keeper details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
“Linked to this, there are concerns from consumer groups, MPs, and the public highlighting a range of poor practices and behaviours within the sector that the current system of self-regulation has not adequately dealt with. This has created additional costs and stress for drivers and registered vehicle keepers that are often not justified.
“Given the current system of self-regulation does not appear to be working in addressing these issues, it is necessary to introduce a new Code of Practice to ensure that the system is fair for drivers and registered vehicle keepers. This is also considered justified on equity grounds where unfair outcomes impact certain (for example, more vulnerable) groups disproportionately.”
The full report can be read on the UK Government website. The email address to respond to is [email protected] and the consultation has been extended to October 8.
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