Motorists wanting to contest parking tickets will be given more time to prepare their case, under changes announced by the UK’s largest private parking appeals scheme in response to coronavirus.
POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals) says motorists who use its service are often keen to revisit the site of the car park where they were issued with the parking charge notice (PCN) in order to gather evidence.
An example would be when the parking operator says signage setting out the terms and conditions at a car park is clear but the motorist disputes this.
As revisiting a car park would be classed as non-essential travel under the government’s COVID-19 restrictions, some motorists are currently unable to submit effective appeals or comment on parking operator evidence.
It is therefore putting new appeals on hold and giving motorists extra time to submit their case.
A statement posted on the POPLA website explains that, in the interests of fairness, all appeals received after 6 April 2020 will be adjourned – meaning that appeals will be put on hold and no action will be taken until further notice.
John Gallagher, lead adjudicator at POPLA, said: “Motorists can still register new appeals on the POPLA website – www.popla.co.uk – but they will be informed that their case has been adjourned.
“Motorists will have the opportunity to submit further appeal details and evidence when they are able to revisit car parks to gather information to support their case.
“When we start considering appeals again, we will write to affected motorists and give them additional time to submit their full appeal.
“My message to motorists is that if you do not submit your appeal, we may not be able to consider it later.”
POPLA, which is run by independent not-for-profit organisation Ombudsman Services, considers appeals against PCNs issued by parking operators that are members of the British Parking Association (BPA).
Steve Clark, head of operational services at the BPA, welcomed the changes being introduced by POPLA.
He said: “Motorists cannot be pursued for payment while their appeal is registered with POPLA.
“POPLA is independent of the BPA and we always act on intelligence provided by them.
“If they advise us that an operator seems to be pursuing a motorist whilst an appeal is being considered then we will investigate it. If a motorist believes this is happening they should email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
POPLA’s latest annual report shows that it received 89,609 appeals last year, a 33% year-on-year increase.