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News & views

Private parking ‘bloodsuckers’ flayed in conference speech

[10 July 2012] Badly worded and illegible parking signs and payment demands were on the agenda at Parking Review magazine’s 'Enforcement Summit' on 10 July in London, when Martin Cutts of Plain Language Commission addressed delegates from local authorities and the private parking industry.

Cutts accused the British Parking Association, the members’ club that oversees the unregulated private parking sector, of a ‘lack of integrity’ in giving misleading figures to the Government as it campaigned for a change in the law on registered keeper liability. The BPA had implied that up to 90,000 private parking cases were chugging through the court system in 2011, when the real figure turned out to be a mere 49 – of which motorists had won more than half.

Cutts said: ‘Your industry needs to go straight. It needs to have the ethical purpose of reducing the vast number of contraventions that it’s been promoting by creating a system not of car parks but of money traps. It needs to reduce its current terror. You – and I mean the dodgy companies and the BPA itself – can go straight only by withdrawing from the drug of phoney fines you’ve been mainlining for years.

‘Hanging around car parks finding ever more ingenious ways of punishing motorists is really not a decent way to make a living. You need to design compliance into all your car parks by, for example, using entry and exit barriers and signs on the tarmac at entrances. You need to outlaw all deals between operators and landowners that give the operators the lion’s share of the penalty income, because all that does is incentivise operators to ‘rape and pillage’ (as one BPA member called it) their car parks.’

Download his full speech by clicking here.  (50KB) To see it with typos corrected, click here.

Other speakers included Caroline Sheppard of the Traffic Penalties Tribunal and Prof Stephen Stradling of Edinburgh Napier University. Details: 

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