In September 2016, POPLA took the decision to adjourn all appeals relating to parking charges or penalty charges issued on land subject to byelaws. We did so after receiving challenges that we did not have a remit to determine a byelaw breach.
We accept that only a court can determine a breach of law. However, the British Parking Association expected its approved operators to allow a free route to independent appeal on all parking ‘tickets’. Consequently, parking operators issued POPLA codes when refusing appeals against parking charges or penalties issued on land subject to byelaws and the appeals ended up with POPLA.
We initially considered such appeals because we share the British Parking Association’s view that all motorists should have a route to a free independent appeal against a parking ‘ticket’ issued by a British Parking Association Approved Operator. We consider it right that if we find that a parking charge or penalty had not been issued correctly, we can allow the appeal and require the parking operator to cancel the charge or penalty. Nonetheless, the law around byelaws is complex and we took the decision to adjourn to ensure we were not overstepping our remit.
Since taking the decision to adjourn, POPLA has liaised with key stakeholders to establish a way of dealing with such appeals in the best interests of all involved. Through our liaison, the Department
for Transport agreed to produce guidance on railway byelaws. We had expected to receive guidance in the second quarter of 2017. However, the 2017 general election meant that this timetable was no longer realistic and the guidance was put on hold. Now the election has taken place, we are hopeful we will receive clarification on this issue in the coming months.
For the time being, we remind all motorists impacted by this adjournment that the parking operator involved should not pursue payment while an appeal is ongoing with POPLA.
Due to the lack of progress on byelaws guidance, and the building backlog of cases at POPLA, some operators began cancelling parking ‘tickets’ issued on byelaws land at the first appeal, even where they were of the view that the parking ‘ticket’ had been issued correctly.
The British Parking Association considered the situation unsustainable because, if motorists felt they could park with impunity, it would make parking management very difficult. Therefore, the British Parking Association took the decision to remove the requirement for parking operators to signpost motorists to POPLA for parking charges or penalty charges issued under byelaws from 18
POPLA recognises the impact this might have on some motorists but we remain committed to offering all motorists the right to a free independent appeal. We will continue working with all interested parties to gain clarification on this issue as soon as practically possible.
Further updates will be provided on our website as things develop.