A new Bill to regulate release fees and introduce a complaints process

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, has introduced the Vehicle Clamping Bill 2014 that will regulate clamping across public and private property.

Under this Bill, the National Transport Authority (NTA) is being given the function of regulating clamping activities wherever they are operated.

A new Bill to regulate release fees and introduce a complaints process

This means that the NTA will set maximum release fees, ensure appropriate signage is provided in areas where clamping is carried out, and establish an appeals and complaints system.

Minister Donohoe said: ‘This is an important piece of legislation which will deal with an issue which has long proved an irritant for motorists. I believe most motorists appreciate that clamping can be a necessary part of enforcing parking control measures. However, when it comes to clamping, the area of greatest annoyance and disquiet to the motoring public is often the variation and inconsistent clamp release charges currently being applied in privately owned car parks’.

“Road space and parking facilities, whether on public or private lands such as shopping centres and sports stadia, are a limited resource and their use needs to be managed for the benefit of all road users. However, as there is currently no regulation of clamping activities carried out on private land, public concern often centre around the activities of some clamping operators, particularly regarding the variation in clamp release charges, poor or non-existent signage and the absence of a clear and accessible appeals process.

“It is therefore appropriate that clarity be given to this situation in order to protect the rights of both citizens and property owners alike in relation to an activity which has become an increasing feature of urban life in Ireland. Through this Bill the NTA will in future regulate these activities and bring a greater degree of transparency to clamping operations. This Bill is also in the long-term interest of everyone working in the industry as a better regulated clamping sector is a safer and more sustainable business for those employed in it.”

The Bill has been initiated in the Seanad and it is hoped to have it enacted by year-end.

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