Manchester drivers breathed a sigh of relief as rogue wheel-clamping firms, known for charging motorists excessive release fees, were dealt a major blow today as new ban activates to confront ruthless companies.
The new legislation, under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, makes it an offense to clamp, tow, block-in or immobilise a vehicle on private land.
Evidence collected by the government has shown that approximately 500,000 clampings were taking place annually on private land with an average release fee of £112 and almost all clamp fees were paid.
However it is now the clampers who could be facing unwanted trouble as the new ban, active from today, will make clampers liable to an unlimited fine in crown court, or up to £5,000 in a magistrates court.
Michael Winstanely, the Conservative candidate for November’s upcoming Police and Crime Commissioner election, believes this will come as a huge relief for motorists of Greater Manchester.
He said: “Many people in Greater Manchester 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.”
While the ban will not change existing lawful authority such as traffic enforcement by local authorities and police on highways, it will ban clamping on private land, and Lord Taylor, the Conservative Home Office Minister, believes this is a major victory for honest motorists.
“This will save motorists £55million each year in clamping charges and finally penalise the real criminals – the corrupt firms themselves,” he claimed.