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Saturday 20 September 2014

Clampers who charge too much to face €5,000 fines

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 09/06/2014 | 02:30

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Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar

ROGUE clampers who charge motorists too much to release vehicles face fines up to €5,000 under new government plans.

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The clamping industry will be regulated for the first time under draft laws to be unveiled by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar today.

Under the scheme, clampers who exceed a release fee, which will be capped, could be fined up to €5,000.

The cap will be decided by the National Transport Authority. The caps will vary, and will be determined by the property where the vehicle is parked, for example if it is a shopping centre or an apartment block.

The legislation, to be introduced this year, aims to bring consistency to the clamping of vehicles, in public places and private land.

Mr Varadkar, who will publish the Regulation of Vehicle Immobilisation Bill later today, has said there are clear laws governing clamping in public places.

These allow local authorities to clamp vehicles directly or by contract with a clamping company.

But there is no legislation covering the clamping of vehicles parked on private property.

"The public is well aware of cases where private clampers have behaved in a manner which gives rise to serious concerns," he said.

"I do not favour an outright ban on clamping on private property, as landowners need to be able to deal with nuisance parking.

"However, the practice must be regulated."

The National Transport Authority will become the national regulator and licensing authority for the vehicle immobilisation industry.

It will oversee appeal, by motorists. Motorists will be able to appeal to it if they are unsatisfied with the clamping operator's response.

In addition, a code of practice for clamping operators will be drawn up and clamping staff and their vehicles will have to be clearly identifiable.

The General Scheme of the Regulation of Vehicle Immobilisation Bill, is designed to reward good practice by reputable clampers and protect motorists from bad practice.

Irish Independent

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