Rogue clampers take £55m a year

  • Tens of millions being paid out each year in fines
  • 98% of people pay average £112 fine without argument
  • Government moving to ban clamping on private land

A staggering £55 million in fines is being paid yearly by drivers to private wheel clamping companies, Home Office figures have revealed.

Around 500,000 clampings take place each year on private land, with the average release fee being £112. More than 98% of people pay this, regardless of whether the fine was justified or not.

The Freedom Bill, which is set to be put through Parliament, aims to reduce the ability of unofficial clampers to take millions in illegitimate fines by making clamping and towing illegal on private land.

This would mirror the law in Scotland, where clamping on private land has been illegal since 1991.

This is intended to protect motorists against rouge clamping companies who use aggressive tactics to extort money from drivers who have been clamped, or tow their vehicle away, leaving them stranded. This can lead to storage fees being charged as well, or damage to the car from careless handling.

Not all groups support the changes, though. The British Parking Association warns that the legislation will result in some drivers simply parking where they like, potentially causing problems for land owners and business operators.

Private firms will still be able to ticket parked cars, however, and owners can use barriers or fixed payment schemes to control their car parks. The Police and local authorities will also still be able to clamp or move illegally parked, or obstructing, vehicles.

Have you ever been clamped and asked to pay extortionate, unjustified fines? Tell us about it on our Facebook page.  

Parker's Top Tip

Drivers should be aware that if the changes go through then clamping will still be allowed on the public roads - so check for markings and signs that indicate what the parking restrictions are.