Local Police and Crime Commissioner candidate Katy Bourne has welcomed new legal changes which mean greater rights for motorists. New laws banning wheel clamping and towing will take effect from Monday 1 October thanks to the Conservatives.
Under the new Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 it will be an offence to clamp, tow, block in or immobilise a vehicle without lawful authority on private land. This will stop abuses by rogue firms who charge motorists excessive release fees.
If clampers break the law, they could be liable to an unlimited fine in the Crown Court or up to £5,000 in a Magistrates Court.
The ban will not change existing lawful authority, such as traffic enforcement by local authorities and police on highways, but will effectively ban clamping on private land. The ban also applies to towing away and blocking in. Anyone who clamps a vehicle or tows it away on private land without specific lawful authority to do so may face criminal proceedings.
These changes were all inspired by members of the public through a cross-government survey, ‘Your Freedom’. People had the chance to suggest ideas on restoring liberties that have been lost, repealing unnecessary laws and stripping away excessive regulation.
Local PCC candidate Katy Bourne said: ‘Many people in Sussex have suffered at the hands of rogue clampers. In the past, these firms have been allowed a free rein and honest motorists have been the ones to suffer. Now, thanks to this common sense ban from the Conservatives, motorists will have the protection they need.’
Conservative Home Office Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach said: “This will save motorists £55 million each year in clamping charges and finally penalise the real criminals – the corrupt firms themselves.”