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Wheel clamping crackdown condemned

The Government's ban on wheel clampers will be a "charter for the selfish parker" as any incentives for drivers to follow the rules will be removed, an industry body says.

The British Parking Association (BPA) said the Government ban on wheel clampers operating on private land would take away the last resort of landowners faced with drivers who persistently park unlawfully.

But motoring organisations hailed the "momentous" move, which will be introduced in the Government's Freedom Bill in November and could be in place by early next year.

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone said wheel clamping has "always had a track record of grief and misery" as rogue operators exploit drivers by charging "exorbitant fees".

She said some firms operate a "sort of entrapment" and an outright ban is the right answer.

Previous efforts to curb unscrupulous clampers have failed and England and Wales will follow Scotland which introduced a ban nearly two decades ago, she said. Only unlicensed vehicles are able to be clamped in Northern Ireland.

The equalities and criminal information minister said private firms will be banned from clamping or towing vehicles but would still be able to ticket parked cars.

Landowners could also install barriers to prevent parking, she added.

But Patrick Troy, chief executive of the BPA, which represents 680 organisations in the parking and traffic management industry, said: "The Government's plans are a charter for the selfish parker. We urge the Home Office to tightly regulate the private parking sector, instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

"Clamping provides a last resort to landowners who are faced with persistent offenders and ticket evaders."

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