Can I be fined for parking on private land?

No clamping allowed

UNLESS YOU always park on the road or at home, then parking a car on private land is inevitable. Private car parks can be found at shopping centres, attractions, retail outlets or even motorway services. They’re private because they’re built on privately-owned land, and they will have notices posted around the car park informing users of parking restrictions.

The reality is that there is no legislation that controls the regulation and enforcement of parking on private land. In 2012, the Freedoms Act banned the clamping of illegally parked cars on private land, but tickets can still be issued if you break the rules, and there’s an industry of enforcement companies that can assist with this. These firms need to be part of an accredited trade association if they want to access the DVLA’s registration records so they can issue penalties.

Can I be fined for parking on private land?

Yes you can. It’s important that you know and stick to the rules when parking on private land. These should be clearly posted in the car park, with information about the length of stay that’s permitted, whether there are parking charges or if a permit is needed, and details about the size of any penalty charges and the name of any enforcement company, too.

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How to enforce parking on private land

If you’re a landowner that wants to enforce parking, then you can place restrictions and issue tickets, but you can’t clamp or tow illegally parked vehicles. At the very least you must place notices about how parking is restricted and if you can afford it then you can hire an approved operator to manage your parking. Sophisticated set-ups can use Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to check vehicle details and can be set up to automatically issue penalties to any vehicle that has broken the restrictions.

How to appeal a parking ticket on private land

If you are dealing with an accredited operator, then they will be a member of either the British Parking Association (BPA) or the International Parking Community (IPC). The former uses POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals) service to deal with appeals, while the latter has the Independent Appeals Service (IAS). Both organisations have lists of their approved operators.

Are supermarket car parks private land?

Yes they are. If you go to an out-of-town supermarket, then the parking restrictions are likely to be fairly relaxed. There’s likely to be a three-hour time limit to your stay, which should be plenty of time to go shopping.

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Urban supermarkets will be stricter, with shorter hours likely to be enforced, because operators won’t want people taking advantage of their parking and heading to other shops nearby. Some supermarkets use ANPR cameras to check vehicle registrations at the car park entrance. There will then be machines where you must enter your registration and present a valid shopping receipt from said supermarket in order to avoid facing a penalty.