Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has published the Heads of a Bill to regulate the clamping industry, following sign-off by Cabinet.
In line with the commitment in the Programme for Government, the Minister today published the General Scheme of the Regulat
ion of Vehicle Immobilisation Bill 2013, which is designed to reward good practice by reputable clampers, and to protect motorists from malpractice.
The Bill will introduce consistency to the clamping of vehicles, whether in a public place or on certain private lands, by setting up a new regulatory regime for those involved in clamping as a means of parking enforcement.
“There are clear laws governing clamping in public places, which allow local authorities to clamp vehicles, either direc
tly or by contract with a clamping company. But there is currently no legislation covering the clamping of vehicles which are parked on private property. This new Bill will protect motorists and legitimate clamping operators, while penalising bad behaviour by disreputable operators. It would also give motorists a one-stop-shop to seek redress,” Minister Varadkar said.
“The public is well aware of cases where private clampers have behaved in a manner which gives rise to serious concerns. I do not favour an outright ban on clamping on private property, as landowners need to be able to deal with nuisance parking. However, the practice must be regulated.”
The legislation is currently being drafted following consultation with the Joint Oireachtas Transport Committee, which held a number of hearings on the matter and made a report to the Department.
The key points proposed for the new Bill are that:
• The National Transport Authority (NTA) will be the National Regulator and Licensing Authority for the entire vehicle immobilisation industry;
• A maximum cap will be imposed on release fees for vehicles clamped on private land, which will be set by the NTA;
• The NTA will regulate clamping, relocation, and removal of unauthorised vehicles;
• The NTA will license any activities associated with clamping;• The NTA will oversee a two-tier appeals process, where aggrieved customers will be able to appeal to the operator, followed by an appeal to the NTA if they remain unsatisfied;
• A Code of Practice will be drawn up for clamping operators;
• Measures will be put in place to ensure that the public can have confidence in those operating clamping companies;
• Clamping staff and their vehicles will have to be clearly identifiable.
The Bill is being drafted in the Attorney General’s Office and the Minister hopes to introduce it in the Oireachtas later in the year.
The Heads of the Bill can be accessed at: http://www.transport.ie/viewitem.asp?id=13794&lang=ENG&loc=387