Goodbye to rogue wheel clampers – another Lib Dem policy to become law

Lynne Featherstone has announced that the Lib Dem policy to ban wheel clamping and towing away of vehicles on private property is to become law. The measure will bring England and Wales in line with Scotland.

As Lynne writes on her blog

There cannot be an MP in the land who has not had constituents come to them who have been clamped ‘unfairly’. The complaints that have come in to the Home Office are tales of exorbitant fees, abusive behaviour, signage being invisible and so on.

In a recent adjournment debate I recall that examples were given of a disabled motorist being frog marched to a cash point in the middle of a freezing night to get cash to pay the release fee.

Of course, landowners have a right to stop people parking on their land – but no longer by clamping. In Scotland – where clamping was banned nearly twenty years ago (very successfully) landowners either protect their land by barrier methods or introduce ticketing.

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35 Comments

  • Brilliant – thank heavens for the Lib Dems.

  • John Richardson 17th Aug '10 - 1:35pm

    The manifesto says: “Regulate the parking system to remove unfairness and stop private
    sector wheel-clamping.”.

  • If you want to spread the word to Daily Mail readers you can always give us a hand up with a comment online which they occasionally publish. I have just done so, although not in too partisan a way as to excite too many red arrows – their traditional response to most things “progressive.”

  • This is excellent news. This is the type of move that shows why the LibDems were right to get involved with the coalition and they’re making a real, positive difference.

  • I should have made clear that my comment to the Daily Mail was in response to their claim of a “sensational victory” for the paper’s campaign against clampers.
    Whilst on their site I was interested to read what a really damp squib of an article on Nick Clegg that great ‘pamphleteer’ (a moniker he has now given himself in the U.S.) Richard Littlejohn was considered to have produced for a far from impressed readership. Now that we’re part of the coalition, and as long as we’re cutting this and that, even reactionary attack dogs can get nipped by their pups in the silly season.

  • Oh dear. Just the sort of populist nonsense which would appeal to the Mail. Why should people be deprived of the only effective measure of controlling who parks on their land?

    Perfectly reasonable to to have controls including a maximum penalty but this is going too far.

    Didn’t Nick say we were not going to have all these knee jerk laws? Aren’t we supposed to be repealing a law everytime we bring in a new one?

  • Patrick Smith 17th Aug '10 - 4:49pm

    The banning of `wheel clamping’ on private land e.g. supermarket car parks, is a welcome and overdue practical step to release harassed motorists from relentless pursuit of too many unscrupulous `wheel-clamping cowboys’, who have been raking in millions,by holding clamped drivers vehicles hostage and ransom, especially across London Boroughs.

    There must be proportionate fairness in the application of parking solutions on public roads and `wheel clamping’ is one remedy only? But we need to go a step further to gain more public rights for drivers.

    Towing may be the only option but not on private land if the `No Parking Signs’ are defaced or too high to be visible etc.and the fines currently levelled are beyond the pale, at £100-£400 with no recourse to accessible local appeal.

    I have always supported an appeal mechanism to be introduced that allows drivers, with a reasonable case to put, as to legality or fairness of their imposed parking ticket on a public street to have the right to attend on their own request, an open `face to face’ jurisdiction decision, with a local parking solutions adjudicator, employed by the Council.

    I advocate that an independent assessor be available for street parking appeals, as a full-time Council expert, to look at the evidence in appealed individual cases and mediate and report back for action for either implementation, or rescinding the Ticket.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 17th Aug '10 - 5:11pm

    “Why should people be deprived of the only effective measure of controlling who parks on their land?”

    An example, of course, being flat-dwellers who find it’s the only way of preventing their parking spaces being used by commuters trying to avoid parking controls in the street.

    It doesn’t seem very _liberal_ to prevent ordinary people from protecting their own property in this way.

  • Alex Macfie 17th Aug '10 - 6:23pm

    @Anthony: It’s not *liberal* to allow private individuals or organizations to deem someone guilty of an “offence” and mete out punishment with no right of appeal. Protecting your property is one thing, but vigilantism is another.

  • The private clampers are astroturfing all over this. I don’t understand how it ever got to be legal. It’s extortion pure and simple. Every single one should be charged with assault, as well as trespass to other peoples’ property.

  • so half a million public sector workers lose their jobs, including nurses
    and a budget that hits women and the poor more than any other sector
    and the best that can be said is that Lib Dems outlawed rouge wheel clampers (and thats doubtful)

  • what about illegal parking in hospitals ???

  • Stuart Mitchell 17th Aug '10 - 7:14pm

    The clamping industry is clearly guilty of some horrific abuses which need to be stopped, but this silly policy is taking matters to the opposite extreme. Under the proposed law, if somebody plonks their vehicle on your private property, depriving you of your use of that property, it will be a criminal offence for you to remove it. This seems neither fair nor liberal.

    Drivers of the estimated million unregistered vehicles will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of being able to park wherever they like with total impunity.

    The really bizarre thing about all this is that Featherstone said on TV this morning that the new law will be introduced via the “Freedom Bill”. Huh? Since when is the Freedom Bill about *prohibiting* activities which up to now have always been completely lawful?

    I’ve just had a quick look at the “Your Freedom” website and I couldn’t find an option which said: “Which currently lawful activities would you like to ban?”

  • Stuart Mitchell 17th Aug '10 - 7:17pm

    Mike: “what about illegal parking in hospitals ???”

    According to Featherstone, if the illegally parked vehicle is “blocking an entrance” then the police will have powers to remove it. A great use of police resources, I’m sure you will agree.

    Presumably, if the vehicle is parked elsewhere on the hospital grounds, it will simply be left there, and the trust will have to send a ticket to the owner – assuming it’s not one of the estimated million unregistered vehicles of course.

    Bonkers, isn’t it?

  • I honestly had no idea that people were allowed to employ private companies to clamp people’s cars! But very happy to hear the practice is being clamped down on (someone had to say it!).

    I can’t really believe anyone is seriously defending this kind of vigilantism… I’m waiting to hear someone say “an Englishman’s home is his castle”.

    Oops, got to go – my neighbour is playing very loud music again so I think I’ll go and smash one of her windows to teach her a lesson.

  • Rob Sheffield 17th Aug '10 - 9:24pm

    Hhmm

    from an absurd situation where mothers are clamped whilst sitting in their cars outside thir childrens school; to one where we get a free market in street parking i.e. ‘I park where I want to mate so screw you- what are you going to do about it’.

    Classic libertarianism 🙂

    I give it 24 months before their is a re-regulation of street parking…

  • Rob Sheffield 17th Aug '10 - 9:32pm

    @Catherine
    Oops, got to go – my neighbour is playing very loud music again so I think I’ll go and smash one of her windows to teach her a lesson.

    Given the removal of anti social behaviour legislation/ noise abatement regulation, that might soon be the only way to get a night’s sleep in this libertarian nirvana you naive adolescents are trying to impose on the rest of us!.

    Actually I’d better go and turn down that SLF album: what were those lyrics again…..?

    ‘give me a nation where people are free/ free to do and free to be/ free to screw you before you screw me’

    😉

  • I literally have never been as underwhelmed in my adult political life.

    To see Featherstone bumbling through interviews on this trying to paint it as the second Magna Carta was pitiful.

    You’re right. This is why the Lib Dems sold their soul to Thatcherite slash ‘n’ burn dogma.

  • This is great news. The public is to be protected from gangs of greedy anti-social predators who clamp cars and extort egregious ransoms (often from pensioners). That is something to celebrate, isn’t it?

    A friend of mine spent a good deal of his time helping an old lady who was clamped by one of the most notorious of the clampers, now serving a life sentence for murder. I also know of an industrial estate where the freeholder erected clamping warning signs in respect of land where he knew that tenants had easements of parking. I helped my friend rip them down.

    As for Cuse, his opposition seems to be based on nothing more than his animosity to Lynne Featherstone.

  • Car parked in front of fire exit, fire hydrant, disabled car space, private space in appartment block . Put a ticket on it, simples!

    Speed cameras save lives. Remove them, put ticket on car parked in ambulance’s way.

    Brave new world.

  • so when the consultant called into the hospital on an emergency on Friday night and cannot get parked
    the white van man who couldnt find a disabled bay parks in emergency bay
    simply gets a ticket (they dont pay anyway)

    and one dead patient

    this is madness ask any doctor

  • David Allen 18th Aug '10 - 4:35pm

    “Brilliant – thank heavens for the Lib Dems.”

    “Thatcherite slash ‘n’ burn dogma”

    You’re competing for the title of Sad Person of the Year. Look, it’s only car parking, for heaven’s sake!

    It needs to be dealt with sensibly, not politicised to high heaven. Banning private vigilantism is broadly sensible given the abuses which have occurred. Making exceptions for emergency issues would also be sensible (and Mark, it’s the threat that hospitals need to stop people mis-parking, they don’t have to go and implement their threat.)

    Always assuming anyone these days has the sense to know where partisan politics should stop!

  • Stuart Mitchell 18th Aug '10 - 5:14pm

    Mark: “if you’re concerned about illegally parked cars getting in the way of ambulances, surely sticking a wheelclamp on them is just about the worst thing to do”

    The best thing to do would be to physically remove the ofending car. But the government is criminalising that, too.

    It is patently absurd to criminalise people for removing something which has been placed illegally on their private property. It’s replacing one set of abuses (by rogue clampers) with another set of abuses (by motorists who have no respect for private property). Better regulation would have been a superior solution.

    If I lived near Lynn Featherstone I’d be tempted to use her driveway as a car park and see how she feels about it then!

  • I am what is known as a Pedestrian. Sadly each of the cartel parties has an identical policy towards Pedestrians. They hate us with an implacable hatred, I do not know why but they do. I live in a narrow lane in Ryde in the Isle of Wight with a narrow pavement only on one side, the other side of the road for most of its length is a wall about 6 foot high. It has been the policy of the police and the now defunct traffic warden to encourage drivers to park on the footpath forcing Pedestrians to walk in the road competing with fast moving (too fast) two way traffic. The island mp, not sure wich of the cartel oarties he belongs to, said that traffic flow was more important than Pedestrian safety. I have taken photos of police cars on our pavement and Pedestrians in the road and in the background is one of the largest council run car parks on the Isle of Wight.
    I will be writing to the car loving Pedestrian hating Lynne Featherstone sending some of the photos we have taken over the years of pavements TOTALLY blocked by vehicles and ask her why Pedestrians are hated sommuch by politicians.

  • Sandra Michael 28th Aug '10 - 11:04am

    The bill to stop clamping will leave residents in our small unadopted road – and many thousands like us across the country – in an impossible position. We have to pay for repairs, cleaning etc from our own pocket but people ignore the no parking signs and use our road as a free car park rather than pay £1 and park legally in other places. The police and council are not interested. Eventuafter after suffering for years with people leaving their cars in the road for days and even weeks on end, we formed a residents association and appointed a clamping firm and the problem has disappeared. Now we if this legislation goes through we will be left totally unprotected. There may be cowboy clampers around, but there has to be some protection for people like us. Anyone that parks in our tiny six house road has to pass huge NO PARKING signs and they know exactly that what they are doing is wrong and they risk being clamped Why should we be penalised and what is the government going to do to protect us?

  • anthony holmes 16th Sep '10 - 8:46pm

    Sandra , you could always play a prank on the driver parking where they shouldnt , its a bit juvenile but very funny , basically you take a couple of seconds to inject a dose of STINKI into the cars front air inlet grills under the windscreen . When the driver moves off they begin to notice the unmistakeable smell of a dead rodent – that must have died somewhere inside their car . Motorist has choice of driving with windows open for at least a week , or to dismantle the car inside and out to find the offending dead body and get rid of it . All an illusion of course , there is no dead animal – they just think there is , a great prank . who would want to park in a place that obviously overun with very sick rodents looking for a place to die ?? STINKI can be got on eBay by the way .

  • The public keep hearing statements from Lib Dems about things that never actually happen. On what date will it be illegal to wheel clamp a vehicle on private land (e.g. 01/12/2011)? Or is it too difficult for a Lib Dem to deliver something that they promise?

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