Wheel-clampers face private land ban

By politics.co.uk staff

The government is to outlaw wheel-clamping on private land in England and Wales.

Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone said legislation would be needed to push through the move, which could be inserted into the umbrella freedom bill this November.

Wheel-clamping on private land was banned in Scotland in 1991 but has remained legitimate in England and Wales, allowing “sharp practise” to cause “grief and misery”.

“There cannot be an MP in the land who has not had constituents come to them who have been clamped ‘unfairly’,” she wrote on her blog.

“In a recent adjournment debate I recall that examples were given of a disabled motorist being frog marched to a cash point in the middle of a freezing night to get cash to pay the release fee.”

Excessive fees, unpleasant behaviour and invisible signage are among the complaints frequently received by the Home Office by private clampers.

Ms Featherstone ruled out establishing an independent appeals authority, which she said would cost £2 million a year and only serve to perpetuate a “flawed system”.

Police would be given powers to tow vehicles on private land when they are parked dangerously – blocking the entrance to a hospital, for example.

“The police powers are for exceptional circumstances only,” Ms Featherstone added.