Private parking companies will have to reduce their fines by 50% under rules in a new parking code of practice introduced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Private car parks will also have to display prices more clearly, use a fairer appeal system and give drivers a 10-minute grace period for lateness, according to the new rules, reports the Guardian.
The maximum charge will be reduced to £50 in most cases, or £70 for more serious breaches.
Private firms who breach the new code could also be banned from collecting fines in future, by having their access to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) data cut off.
Levelling-up minister Neil O’Brien said the measures aimed to protect motorists from “aggressive debt collection and unreasonable fees”.
He said: “Private firms issue roughly 22,000 parking tickets every day, often adopting a system of misleading and confusing signage, aggressive debt collection and unreasonable fees designed to extort money from motorists.
“The new code of practice will set out a clear vision with the interests of safe motorists at its heart, while cracking down on the worst offenders who put other people in danger and hinder our emergency services from carrying out their duties.”
The president of the AA, Edmund King, said: “These much-needed upgrades to private parking rules will give better protection to drivers. For too long, those caught by private parking firms simply pay the charge to get rid of it. Thankfully these days are numbered.
“Drivers should feel confident that having a single code of practice and a new appeals charter will give them confidence to appeal and be properly heard.
“We are also pleased that honest mistakes, like mistyping the car registration into the machine, will now be automatically cancelled.”
The RAC head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, added: “The RAC has campaigned for years to end the sharp practices in the private parking sector, so we welcome the new national code that will usher in higher standards and will introduce a lower cap on penalty charge notices, an independent appeals system and an end to rip-off debt collection fees.
“This will undoubtedly make drivers’ experience of using private car parks fairer while at the same time force rogue operators to clean up their acts once and for all.”