Sunday, September 13, 2009

Campaign To Curb The Cowboy Clampers

The Daily Mail launched it's 'Curb The Cowboy Clampers' campaign yesterday, calling for an end to clampers who routinely tow away cars before charging the owners penalities of hundreds of pounds. Unlike on public roads, people who are fined or clamped whilst parking in private car parks have no right of appeal, effectively making clamping legalised robbery.

As AA president Edmund King says:

"Cowboy clampers have been getting away with legalised mugging for too long. It's a Government-backed licence to print money.

It is outrageous that a private company, whose income may be directly related to the number of clamps put on vehicles, can demand huge sums from motorists, who may well have committed no offence or infringed no parking conditions, which then must be paid before a clamp is removed.

"It is quite wrong that there should be financial incentives for private companies to go round clamping vehicles."

The Daily Mail is calling for a host of new regulations to be put in place, in particular:
  • An independent tribunal to hear the appeals of people who have been clamped whilst on private land.
  • Maximum fines brought into line with the current limit on public roads, resulting in an end to £500-plus fines.
  • Towing away vehicles should be banned unless the vehicle is a hazard.
  • Private clampers should no longer be offered incentives to hand out fines.
The final demand does appear to be unlikely to be accepted given that many councils still reward their parking attendants with incentives if they reach certain targets. However, if the Daily Mail keeps the campaign going then it looks like we could see an end to the cowboy clampers.