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A wheel-clamping device can be put on a vehicle if it is parked improperly on public parking land or they are untaxed and on a public road.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) uses automatic number plate recognition cameras to spot untaxed vehicles on English roads. It can be very expensive to remove the device from your car, but if left unpaid, the DVLA has the authority to tow cars away.

Is Clamping Illegal in the UK?

Wheel clamping on public land, including roads and public car parks, is legal in England if the car is improperly parked or untaxed. However, this can only be done by Authorised Bodies such as the local council, the police or the DVLA.

In exceptional cases, the local authority can clamp or tow away cars from private land, but clamping on private land by a private company is deemed illegal.

DVLA Clamping Rules

The DVLA will act when a vehicle is parked illegally on public land, contravening parking restrictions or causing an obstruction. Your car might also be removed from a public road by the Fines/ Civil Enforcement Officers if you have not paid a number of fines.

Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) enforcement officers can also clamp or tow cars when a vehicle is considered dangerous to other road users.

Local authorities also have the legal right to clamp vehicles and tow them away if the driver does not have car tax or insurance. If a car is causing a hazard or has been abandoned, they are likely to remove it from the road rather than clamping it. Blue badge holders issued to disabled drivers or passengers should not be clamped.

If you have been legally clamped by one of the Authorised Bodies, follow the instructions attached to the vehicle to pay a fee to get the clamping device removed. You might be asked to pay over the phone or be given a period of around 14 days. Do not try to attempt to forcibly remove the wheel clamp yourself, as you might be prosecuted for criminal damage.

DVLA Clamping rules on Private Land

Wheel clamping on private land by a private company is illegal. Under some circumstances, and only with good reason, the police, the DVLA or the local authority can instruct for a car to be clamped by a private company on their behalf.

Private landowners, such as home or business owners, can issue parking fines if cars are parked illegally on their property, but they cannot legally clamp cars.

Advice on Wheel Clamping for Private Landowners

As a landowner with private parking space, you might feel annoyed by unauthorised vehicles using your car park and taking away the spaces designated for your staff and visitors. Car clamping by private companies is illegal in the UK, so if you are looking for effective car park management solutions, this is not a viable option.

However, there are a number of other solutions out there, such as electronic barriers and pay stations that can help clamp down (no pun intended) on illegally parked vehicles on your property. Having the ability to charge vehicle owners for their use of the car park can inject some extra profit into your business, which can be put to other uses.

Staff and visitors can be issued with parking permits that will exempt them from paying, ensuring that your car park is well managed and giving you the powers to issue fines to those drivers who do not comply with the rules.

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Running a successful business and managing your car park effectively at the same time can prove frustrating and stressful. Some drivers will always try to take advantage of parking spaces, no matter which area you are located in. At Creative Car Park, we take the stress out of parking management by providing bespoke parking solutions to meet your personal and business needs

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