Motorists are contesting parking tickets at record levels, according to the latest report from the UK’s largest private parking appeals service.
POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals) says it received 89,609 appeals in the past year, up 33% from 67,122 in 2018 and 42% from 62,844 in 2017.
One reason for this is that POPLA now provides full UK coverage. In May 2019, The British Parking Association (BPA) extended the right to appeal parking tickets to include Scotland and Northern Ireland. Up to September 2019, this accounted for 1,035 appeals: 835 from Scotland and 200 from Northern Ireland.
John Gallagher, lead adjudicator at POPLA, said that motorists also have a mounting awareness of privately managed car parks and their right to appeal parking tickets.
“The increase in privately owned car parks and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, has meant that motorists are more aware than ever of private parking conditions and their right to appeal a ticket.
“This, coupled with the expansion of the POPLA service to include Scotland and Northern Ireland, saw us receive record numbers of appeals in the past year.
“If a motorist feels they have a strong case, we would encourage them to appeal to us. We would also recommend that they provide as much information and evidence as possible to help their case.”
POPLA’s 2019 annual report reveals that, of the 79,962 appeals it completed in the past year, 32,012 (40%) resulted in the parking charge being cancelled - either through the appeal being allowed or the parking operator deciding not to contest the appeal.
Common reasons for an appeal included honest mistakes such as keying errors when entering a registration number, misperception of terms as stated on signage and confusion surrounding grace periods before and after a parking session.
“POPLA considers appeals based on facts and law. This often prevents us from allowing appeals where unforeseen circumstances have prevented a motorist from keeping to the parking conditions.
“However, we continue to work with parking operators to refer back appeals we believe should be reconsidered, in instances where we see genuine special circumstances.
“We welcome the revised BPA Code of Practice this week, which brings greater clarity for motorists and parking operators on issues such as keying errors and grace periods.”
On the expansion of POPLA to include Scotland and Northern Ireland, Gallagher said:
“We support the BPA’s decision to extend POPLA’s remit to include motorists in Scotland and Northern Ireland, ensuring that all UK motorists have a route to free and independent appeal.
“We are seeing a steady increase in the number of appeals we receive from Scotland and Northern Ireland as motorists become increasingly aware of their right to appeal.”
POPLA, which since 2015 has been administered by Ombudsman Services, handles appeals involving parking operators that are members of the BPA.
Steve Clark, BPA head of business operations, welcomed POPLA’s annual report and said:
“Since its introduction in 2012, POPLA has allowed independent redress for thousands of motorists who receive parking tickets on private land where they feel they have been treated unfairly.
“We are pleased to see the uptake in motorist appeals which recognises increasing consumer confidence in using the service and exercising their right to an independent appeal against any perceived unfair parking enforcement. Furthermore we applaud the launch of POPLA into Scotland and Northern Ireland, allowing motorists there the chance to have their cases independently considered.
“We have worked closely with POPLA, stakeholders and operators to improve standards and our recently revised Code of Practice provides even greater clarification for all parties.”