Belfast Telegraph

Ford launches consultation on vehicle immobilisation on private land 

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Justice

Justice Minister David Ford is seeking views on the future regulation of vehicle immobilisation on private land in Northern Ireland. 

At present, a landowner or landlord can clamp, block or tow away a vehicle which is parked on private land. The consultation will help the Department to determine how vehicle immobilisation should be regulated in the future. 

David Ford said: “Following a wider consultation on the regulation of the Private Security Industry in 2012, I am now seeking views on the matter of vehicle immobilisation specifically.

“This consultation looks at vehicle immobilisation on private land such as a private car park, a university campus, or on hospital grounds. I want to establish whether there are problems with our current arrangements. If there are, then I want to hear views on what is appropriate in terms of landowners or landlords controlling access to property. 

“I would urge anyone with experience of the regulation of vehicle immobilisation on private land to take the opportunity to respond to the consultation. You may be a member of the public who has had a good or bad experience, an operator, or a landowner or landlord. All your comments would be welcomed.”

The consultation paper is available at http://www.dojni.gov.uk/current-consultations . The closing date is Friday 16 May 2014.


Notes to editors

1. The Security Industry Authority (SIA) currently regulates vehicle immobilisers who operate on private land under the provisions in the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA is an independent body, reporting to the Home Office. 

2. The Department of Justice in Northern Ireland is consulting on how vehicle immobilisation on private land in Northern Ireland should be regulated in the future. 

3. This is the only region of the United Kingdom where vehicle immobilisation on private land is legal. 

4. In the Republic of Ireland, clamping presently takes place on both public and private land but only clamping on public land is regulated. 

5. The consultation paper is available at http://www.dojni.gov.uk/current-consultations

6. In England and Wales, the Government has banned vehicle immobilisation (clamping, blocking-in, towing away) on private land. The ban does not extend to Northern Ireland. The Department of Justice is seeking views on whether a similar ban should be applied here.

7. It is important to clarify that this does not apply to clamping and/or removal of: 

a. untaxed vehicles; 
b. vehicles which have been immobilised for debt recovery purposes i.e. where parking tickets have not been paid; or
c. vehicles which have been immobilised for traffic management purposes.

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