New private car park rules in England but drivers 'shouldn't be fooled'

Private car parks will give drivers, road users and motorists a 10-minute grace period before fines under new rules. Industry trade bodies will also implement a fairer appeals system and maintain an existing cap on charges of £100 – reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

The AA’s head of roads policy, Jack Cousens, said: “This self-authored code doesn’t acknowledge the need to cap charges and remove debt recovery fees … These elements are desperately needed from a government-backed code to protect innocent drivers from the sharks running private car parks.”

Simon Williams, the head of policy at the RAC, said: “Drivers shouldn’t be fooled into thinking this so-called code developed by the private parking industry itself is the same as the long-delayed official private parking code of practice that is backed by legislation.

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“This, and only this, will bring an end to the worst practices of some private parking operators, and mean drivers – especially those who are vulnerable – are protected from unreasonable fines and debt collectors chasing down payments.”

Under the new code, you'll be granted a 10-minute grace period at the end of your parking stay. All private car parks will be required to provide clear signage, and there will be a single set of rules for all private parking operators.

There will be a new appeals charter for those who receive charges with 'mitigating circumstances'. The BPA and the IPC say they’ve been ‘working to create a single code that achieves the government's intentions, while still functioning on a practical level in the real world'.

The government had planned to introduce its own private code of practice (announced in February 2022) but it was withdrawn months later. The proposed code was temporarily withdrawn in June 2022 after some private parking companies issued legal proceedings against the proposals to change maximum fines and ban additional fees.