On 17 August 2010, the Government announced that wheel clamping on private land will be banned in England and Wales. The ban was put forward in The Protection of Freedoms Bill, which was introduced into the House of Commons on 11 February 2011. It will come into force when the bill gains Royal Assent, subject to parliamentary approval.
Read the Protection of Freedoms Bill
Until the ban is in place, the current law applies: any person undertaking the licensable activities of a vehicle immobiliser must hold and display a valid SIA licence.
The following information is subject to Parliament passing the Bill.
- The ban will not apply to Northern Ireland.
- The ban will apply to private land only. It will not change existing traffic enforcement by local authorities and police on highways.
- The ban will also apply to towing away and all other forms of vehicle immobilisation. Once implemented, anyone who clamps (or otherwise immobilises) a vehicle or tows it away on private land without specific legal authority to do so will face criminal proceedings or civil sanctions.
- The ban will apply whether or not there is the intention to charge a release fee, though individuals will still be able to clamp or block in their own vehicles (for example, to prevent theft) and bailiffs with the lawful right to do so will still be able to clamp vehicles in lieu of outstanding debts.
There will be very limited circumstances in which authority to remove vehicles will remain but this will only be where there is specific statutory authority. For example, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) will retain the legal authority to clamp or tow away vehicles as part of its work in combating evasion of Vehicle Excise Duty. The Vehicle and Operator Services Authority has similar powers to prevent the use of un-roadworthy vehicles on the road.
The SIA currently licenses any individual immobilising vehicles on private land in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with a view to charging a release fee. It also requires the licensing of anyone involved in blocking in or towing away vehicles for the same purpose, and of those who collect the fee. This activity will cease in England and Wales once the ban is in place.
For more information visit the Home Office website.