Towing Away of Vehicles Was Illegal

The Daily Mail has reported that for many years the removal (towing away) of vehicles as part of parking enforcement operations was not covered by legislation. They say: “An incredible legal gaffe could result in millions of motorists launching appeals against parking penalties handed out over the past 30 years. Enforcement powers relied on by police and local authorities were accidentally deleted from the statute book, the Mail can reveal today. Powers to charge motorists for removing and impounding vehicles were introduced in 1984 but were ‘inadvertently removed due to a drafting error’ in 1991 – and no one noticed until now”.

Some London boroughs such as Hackney and Camden (Hackney towed away 14,673 vehicles from 2011 to 2015 alone) were very active in using this procedure.

As someone who suffered from this pernicious practice in circa 2005 – towed away for slightly overstaying in a parking bay – I have sent the London Borough of Camden a letter requesting a refund of the several hundreds of pounds in charges. I will advise any result in due course.

This practice has been abandoned by most councils except for extreme situations such as causing an obstruction, but it was always a very dubious procedure. In my case the tow company also caused damage to my vehicle which they denied doing.

See https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9431497/Millions-towed-away-drivers-claw-fines-laws-left-statute-book-30-years.html for the Mail article.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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