Clamping Down On The Clampers

RAC suggests use of private firms could breach human rights

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The private clamping of cars could breach human rights, the RAC Foundation has recently suggested.

In their report, Dr Chris Elliot says clamping by private companies could also be illegal. "The Home Office is proposing a new licensing regime for private clampers but it is arguable that, if the release fee is unreasonable, their actions are incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998, which demands that punishment should only come after a proper legal process."

The Home Office is currently holding discussions with the intention of tightening regulations concerning private clampers. These are a separate entity from the council parking attendants who look after on-street parking and public car parks. The private clampers are employed by a landowner, in order to clamp any vehicles which are on their land without permission and charge the owner for the removal of the clamp.

The RAC Foundation wants someone to challenge this law in the law courts, or for the government to set out a new legislation concerning the legal rights of private clampers and those who are punished by them.

However, the challenge comes a few years too late for motorists who fell foul of an aggressive clamping campaign by the owner of most of the land at Bedford Corner.

In November 2005 a number of residents, business owners and their customers have become unwitting victims of extreme new parking restrictions at Bedford Corner – so extreme in fact that car owners were clamped whilst parking on their own premises.

Signs were erected at numerous but rather obscure points around the privately owned land and early the following morning the clamping company arrived and clamped everyone in sight, including those legitimately parked.

Every person who spoke to at the time complained about foul language and ‘bullying’ tactics used by Parking Control Services, the company employed to clamp vehicles.

The land was subsequently developed into private parking spaces available for rent. To date not a single lease has been taken up.

July 9, 2009