Clamping and towing

There is nothing more likely to make your blood boil than to return to your vehicle and find not only a parking ticket on your windscreen but also a clamp affixed to your wheel.

For years we lobbied local authorities and central government to restrict clamping as how does it help to ease congestion when a vehicle is immobilised. It simply ensures that the vehicle remains parked for longer than it otherwise would.

Clamping and towing

Clamping and towing

Many local authorities like Westminster in central London have stopped Towing and clamping but others still tow and some still clamp.


Clamping and towing

As we understand it it is illegal to lift a vehicle when the vehicle is occupied.


We believe that some local authorities used clamping as a way to raise additional revenue and some even set targets to their contractors in the past. For example in the year 2005/2006 Camden council in London told its contractors that they should clamp 28,000 vehicles. In one year alone Westminster council clamped 45,000 vehicles. However both councils have caved in to pressure many years ago and have stopped clamping altogether as have Manchester who said:

“it seemed a contradiction in terms to clamp an illegally parked vehicle” Islington council in London admitted “we got it wrong” and stopped clamping in 2005.

View the Statutory Guidance for parking

If you have been clamped or your vehicle has been removed you will need to pay to have it removed but you may be able to claim back the cost if the enforcing authority have not followed the rules regarding clamping or if the penalty charge notice (parking ticket) should not have been issued in the first place. You will also have to pay the parking ticket but you can do this under protest. In 2008 the government issued guidance to local authorities and included a section on clamping and towing away.  There are also other acts which set down the rules for clamping and towing away. If you use the guidance in any appeal to the adjudicator there is no guarantee that he will rule in your favour if the council have not followed the guidance but he may well ask the council to explain why they decided to depart from the guidance  and going to the adjudicator will not cost you anything extra under normal circumstances.

Government guidance issued to local authorities in April 2008 discourages clamping and towing away. Hopefully very soon clamping will be a thing of the past except in the case of persistent evaders.

Below are some rules which local authorities must follow and some suggestions to try and have your clamping or towing away fee refunded. Of course a clamp can only be fitted or a vehicle removed if a penalty charge notice has been issued first. So check the relevant section on our parking section to see if you have a case to have the ticket cancelled. The clamping or towing away fee will also be refunded if the penalty charge notice is cancelled.

The rules


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Next: Ajudicators decisions on clamping and towing