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Cowboy clamping clampdown

  • New law to counter cowboy clampers
  • Tribunals to rule on unfair clamping
  • Law comes into effect next year

If you think you've been unfairly treated by cowboy clampers, help is at hand - although not until next year.

The Government intends to set up independent tribunals to investigate instances where people are unfairly clamped on private land. It also wants to limit the fines that private clamping companies can charge.

However, the proposals will only come into effect in 2011 when the Crime and Security Bill becomes law.

Under the proposals, rogue clampers could be forced to pay back excessive fees and the tribunals could award compensation to the drivers affected.

Clamping companies which fail to comply with the tribunal orders would face prosecution or have their licence to operate taken away.

The new law will apply in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Clamping on private land in Scotland is already illegal.

The move is aimed at stemming the rise in the number of clamping companies who are operating - up from 1,200 in March 2008 to more than 2,000 today.