By Claire West

From today (Monday, October 1) motorists will be given greater rights as new laws banning wheel clamping and towing take effect.

It will be an offence to clamp, tow, block-in or immobilise a vehicle without lawful authority on private land under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. These changes will end abuses by rogue clamping firms who prey on motorists by charging excessive release fees. If clampers break the law, they could be liable to an unlimited fine in the Crown Court or up to £5,000 in a Magistrates Court.

Lord Taylor of Holbeach, the Home Office Minister with responsibility for changes to vehicle clamping law, said:

“This common sense ban will give motorists the protection they deserve against rogue wheel-clamping and towing companies.

“It will save motorists £55 million each year in clamping charges and finally penalise the real criminals — the corrupt firms themselves.”

Other changes to vehicle laws include extending police powers to remove vehicles parked on private land. This will ensure landowners have a means to keep their land clear from obstructive or dangerously parked cars.