Do you know your parking rights?
In this article, we catch up with Glenn Dives from the British Parking Association (BPA) who sheds some light on their Know Your Parking Rights website, aimed at informing the UK’s motorists of their parking rights and regulations.
Know Your Parking Rights interview
Q. When was the Know Your Parking Rights website launched?
A. The BPA launched the Know Your Parking Rights (KYPR) website in November 2014 with an invitation-only event hosted by then Shadow Roads Minister Richard Burden MP at the House of Commons. The website is designed to be a trusted resource for motorists. It provides information on why parking is managed and by whom, what to do with a parking ticket, how to find good parking as well as information on parking signs, safe and accessible car parks and suggestions to help motorists save time and money.
Q. What was the idea behind the website?
A. At the time of its launch research showed that nearly 24.7 million motorists in the UK believed that parking rules and regulations were confusing. Indeed, further research by BPA Approved Operators highlighted that half of motorists in the UK were often unaware of their rights with regards to parking, and a further 1 in 10 did not know the difference between the rules for parking in a council or private car park.
We felt that was not a sustainable position. Know Your Parking Rights was created to provide a trusted information resource for motorists wanting to understand their rights and responsibilities when it came to parking. It is part of our aim to increase public confidence in parking through the setting and raising of standards across the sector. Effective parking management plays a vital role in keeping the economy moving, allowing everyone, including those with disabilities the means to access facilities and contribute to their communities. Know Your Parking Rights aims to educate motorists and provide them with the knowledge about parking that they need in an informative and engaging way.
Q. What’s the reception been like so far from motorists?
A. Very positive. They appreciate that all the information that they are likely to need is located in one place and that it’s presented in a jargon-free and engaging format which is easy to navigate and understand.
Q. How well, in general, do you feel motorists understand parking rules?
A. Public knowledge about parking rules has improved massively over the last few years, but there is still a lot of misinformation and bad advice out there, which we want to address as best we can. For example, there are still forums and websites which tell people that they can ignore a Private Parking Charge. Obviously, this causes a lot of additional upset when they discover they can’t. It’s been established for several years by the courts that private parking chargers are both proportionate and enforceable and we would advise all motorists not to ignore a parking charge. Our message is that even if you disagree with the charge, follow the appeals process as set out.
Q. What is the question you are most commonly asked by a driver?
A. There isn’t one stand out question that I can think of. A lot of the calls we get at the BPA are motorists wanting to check that an Operator is a member of our Approved Operator Scheme (AOS), what to do about a ticket they’ve received or how to appeal one. In fact, many of the questions are ones that the Know Your Parking Rights website can answer, and the staff team are advised to direct callers to the site whenever possible.
We do receive calls of a technical nature where motorists believe that an Operator is in breach of the Code of Practice which our AOS members have to follow. In these cases, we usually encourage motorists to email or write into us, so that we can investigate any such claims.
Q. There’s a lot of frustration amongst drivers surrounding parking rules, enforcement and fines. How do you feel the situation can be improved?
A. Much of the frustration is due to inaccurate information and motorists are either unaware of their rights and responsibilities or don’t know where to go to find out. The easiest way of addressing that is to provide motorists with accurate and up-to-date information to ensure that they are able an informed decision.
Q. Do you think the government should be doing more?
A. Government is increasingly very well engaged in recent times and backs Sir Greg Knight’s Private Member’s bill which subsequently became the Parking (Code of Practice) Act when it was passed by Parliament on the 15 March 2019. The Act provides provision for the creation of a new single code, single appeals service and a standards-setting body for private car park operators. During the passage of the bill, Sir Greg and officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government met with us to seek advice on its progress. We look forward to continuing to work with the government over the coming months as they develop and consult on the new code and other provisions of the Act.
Q. How do you see the Know Your Parking Rights website evolving in the future?
A. The site will continue to be updated to reflect any changes in law or guidance on parking and we have created animations for England, Scotland and Wales to explain the processes and any differences for each of these countries. We’re promoting the site more online and have seen a big increase in visitors through targeted advertising. We also want more of our members to promote the site as the number one source of information for parking.
Q. Finally, what is the one bit of parking advice you would give to a new driver?
A. Check the signage when you arrive. Knowing the terms and conditions, for example, that the site operates a 10-minute grace period or that you can use an app to top up is so important and can avoid so many unnecessary problems.
For further information on the Know Your Parking Rights website, check out this video:
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