At present the private parking industry is self-regulating.
Parking on private land is primarily managed through contract law. The signage on a site is the terms and conditions of a contract. When a motorist gets a ticket from a private company, in law this is an invoice for breach of contract. This creates a debt against the motorist that is enforceable through the courts.
Fines issued by private parking companies are currently capped at £100 by the codes of practice which the International Parking Community and British Parking Association hold their members to.
The Parking (Code of Practice) Act will create a Code of Practice with a single set of rules which applies across the private parking sector. It will ensure that the obligations for enforcement and appeal processes are fair, consistent, and proportionate. The issue of fines will also be looked at as part of the development of the Code.
Local authority parking is governed by different legislation to private car parks. The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (Guidelines on Levels of Charges) (England) Order 2007 sets guidelines on parking charges by enforcement authorities outside Greater London. Local authorities are not meant to raise revenue on managing parking and under Section 55 of the Road Traffic Management Act (RTRA) 1984, any excess revenue raised must be reinvested in the local transport budget.
The Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Act 2017 will also provide flexibility around allowing local authorities to lower parking charges for seasonal or one-off events, as well as creating a duty to consult residents on plans to increase charges. We are currently working on enacting the legislation and will provide further announcements in due course.