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27 March 2017

Leading the way to higher standards and better regulation

The British Parking Association (BPA) continues to drive up standards in the private parking sector, despite concern expressed by MPs in the recent Westminster Hall debate that more should be done to tackle so called poor practice. It is because of the BPA’s interventions that the private parking sector has undergone a radical transformation and we want to ensure that motorists are treated fairly in the ever more demanding world of parking.

No organisation has done more or worked more closely with government to address issues of concern. As part of an agreement with government we established an independent appeals service (Parking on Private Land Appeals or POPLA) which provides motorists with a simple, free appeals service for parking charge notices issued on private land in England and Wales.

POPLA didn’t exist before 1 October 2012 and is something that the BPA is proud to have achieved and which our members have been seeking for years. Adding this to the arrangements we already had in place to ensure our members compliance with our Code of Practice, first published in 2006, for managing parking on private land, with its full internal and third-party audit, and Scheme of Sanctions means that motorists are treated more fairly than ever before; this is fully in line with our commitment to put the consumer at the heart of our thinking and raise standards for everyone.

We invite any MP who has a concern [about standards in the management of parking on private land] to bring it to our attention, together with any supporting evidence, so that we can fully consider these matters. Allegations of non-compliance are always investigated and we welcome the general feedback provided by the Westminster Hall debate. Where breaches to the Code of Practice are identified, BPA operators are being required to amend or adapt procedures, providing continuous improvement of standards in the management of parking on private land. When non-compliance continues, our scheme of sanctions, approved by Government and DVLA, can and does lead to expulsion from the BPA. Seven companies have been expelled so far.

We continue to lobby for POPLA’s adoption in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as throughout the UK to make it available to all motorists, including those who park at railway stations, airports and other places, where POPLA may not currently be available.

The BPA calls on government to finally respond to their discussion paper reform which the sector has been awaiting on for two years.

Andrew Pester, the BPA’s Interim Chief Executive said “We believe the best solution is a single standard setting body, a single code of practice and a single appeals service. The government should also establish an independent scrutiny board (or require the SSB to establish one) to procure a single independent appeals service to resolve disputes between motorist and operator. It is bad for consumers if different appeals services operating under different standards are allowed to develop. A single service, free to motorists and based on principles underpinning existing parking appeals services, which are well understood by motorists, would increase consumer confidence and address any perceived unfair practices”.

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