Frequently Asked Questions 




What is the difference between the British Parking Association and the International Parking Community?


To manage parking on private land the operator must belong to an Accredited Trade Association in order to access keeper details from the DVLA, but in order to do so must adhere to the scheme’s Code of Practice.  

The British Parking Assocaition is the ONLY professional association that represents the entire parking sector across the UK, representing 710 member organisations in the parking and traffic management profession. Members range from Government organisations, Healthcare Trusts, technology companies and car park operators as well as local authorities, train operators and theme parks for example. We provide an Approved Operator Scheme which serves the purpose of an Accredited Trade Association to a fifth of our membership, the private parking companies that manage parking on private land.

Motorists who receive Parking Charge Notices from private parking companies that are members of the BPA's AOS can appeal through POPLA (Parking on Private Land Appeals Service). POPLA has an Independent Scrutiny Board, guaranteeing absolute independence.

The IPC is the equivalent of and a competitor to the BPA's Approved Operator Scheme (AOS). The IPC has its own appeals service, which is called the Independent Appeals Service (IAS). It is available to motorists who receive parking tickets from IPC Members anywhere in the UK.

The IPC IAS is not transparent as it does not publish an Annual Report declaring the numbers of appeals and nature of decisions, PoPLA does.

Some operators choose to have BPA industry membership as a professional organisation and membership of the IPC’s Accredited Operator Scheme for membership of an Accredited Trade Association.

To see a list of the members of the BPA’s Approved Operator Scheme click here.

To see a list of the members of the IPC Accredited Operator Scheme click here.


How do I report an abandoned vehicle?


If a vehicle has been abandoned, report it to your council.

It’s important to report abandoned vehicles to your local council as they can be dangerous and may have been used in a crime. It's not always easy to tell if a vehicle has been abandoned. Make sure that you don’t enter or touch the vehicle. If it has been involved in a crime, the vehicle will need to be investigated by the police. It may also contain hazardous waste and could be a fire risk.

For further information visit Direct Gov

View the Abandoned Vehicles - Flow Chart produced by Keep Britain Tidy.


Someone has parked on my land - how do I remove them?


There is no legislation for parking on private land. The protection of Freedoms Act 2012 placed a ban on vehicle clamping and removals on private land without lawful authority.

Owners of private car parks cannot gain ‘lawful authority’ to clamp or tow a vehicle by obtaining the driver’s consent to doing so. However, they can obtain lawful authority to restrict vehicles by the use of fixed barriers, as are often used at the entry and exit points of car parks, if they have the driver’s consent. This consent could be provided by the driver choosing to park in the car park where the use of the barriers has been made reasonably clear.

If you find that you must have a vehicle removed from your land after 1st October 2012, and you do not have ‘lawful authority’, you must contact the authorities to remove the vehicle. ‘Lawful authority’ will apply in cases where specific legislation is in force which allows for vehicles to be immobilised, moved or have their movement restricted.

There are obvious examples, such as the public roads, where Road Traffic Regulations authorise local authorities and the police to clamp or tow vehicles. Other statutory authorities also retain the ability to clamp, such as the DVLA and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (and their agents) where vehicles are not road worthy or have not had their vehicle tax paid. In addition, there are also parking areas where particular local laws (called bye-laws) have been created that provide for parking enforcement. 

A good example of this is some railway station car parks. Under the Transport Act 2000, bye-laws were made which allow for vehicles in some railway station car parks to be immobilised or removed.

There are many other organisations and public bodies which have ‘lawful authority’ to immobilise, move or restrict vehicles through legislation such as Acts of Parliament and local bye-laws. These include bodies which exercise control at airports, ports and harbours, strategic river crossings and some common land.

If you find that authorities are not responding to requests to remove vehicles, particularly in cases where they may be blocking access or causing danger to others, you should inform your local MP. If a vehicle has been abandoned on your land, the process is different from enforcement of a vehicle that is left on private land. The Keep Britain Tidy Campaign has information about dealing with abandoned vehicles, which can be found here

You can report an abandoned vehicle to your Local Council.

If they have no interest in the vehicle then follow the steps in the Abandoned Vehicles Flow Chart.


How do I stop people parking on my land? Can I put a barrier up?


In some parking environments there are circumstances where conventional methods of enforcement are not appropriate. In some cases, such as small shop car parks the use of self-ticketing is becoming popular.

You can purchase a parking kit from a responsible operator who is a member of the AOS which will enable them to manage the parking bays on your site. Whilst adhering to the terms and conditions of the issuer of the pack (who in turn will adhere to the terms and conditions of the AOS), you can issue the parking ticket and return a copy to the operator, who will access the DVLA’s Vehicle Keeper Details database to pursue the outstanding ticket if necessary. The landowner cannot and should not have any access to these details.

It is important to remember that the company that produces and sells the parking kit and provides the notice processing service is responsible for ensuring that it and all of its agents and customers comply with the terms and conditions and obligations set out in the AOS Code of Practice. Failure to do so will result in sanctions being applied to them and they are liable to have their membership of the AOS suspended or terminated as a result of the actions of third party ‘self-ticketers’.

A list of AOS members that offer this service is available on our website here.

In some cases, such as a pub car park it is appropriate to put up a permanent gate or barrier, in these cases the following applies:

Under the terms of the Protection of Freedoms Act, paragraph 54.3 states:

"But, where the restriction of the movement of the vehicle is by means of a fixed barrier, or the barrier was present (whether or not lowered into place or otherwise restricting movement) when the vehicle was parked, any express or implied consent (whether or not legally binding) of the driver of the vehicle to the restriction is, for the purposes of subsection (1), lawful authority for the restriction."

This means that if you have a permanent gate or barrier, you can use it to restrict movement – provided you have signs in place to ensure that the driver is aware of when the car park will be blocked.

We would strongly suggest that you obtain legal advice though, particularly as to whether a chain is considered to be a ‘fixed barrier’.


I have been issued with a ticket but I wasn’t the driver of the vehicle, what do I do?


You may write to the operator providing details of the driver of your vehicle at the time the parking ticket was issued.

However from the 1st October 2012 the Protection of Freedoms Act allows for the operator to pursue the keeper of the vehicle if no serviceable name and address is given for the driver.

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, schedule 4 only applies to England and Wales.

Due to the Protection of Freedoms Act not applying in Scotland and Northern Ireland, instead only the law of contract applies when managing parking on private land.

The Act and its guidance notes can be read on the Government’s legislation website which you can access by clicking here.

Click on the button labelled ‘Expand All Explanatory Notes (ENs)’ to see further information.


How do I get a company to issue tickets to stop people parking on my land?


You can ask one of our Approved Operators to issue tickets and manage the land on your behalf.  They will be able to erect signage and issue tickets to those vehicles in breach of the terms and conditions.  If the ticket is not paid or appealed within 28 days, the operator will have the ability to request keeper details from the DVLA to follow up the charge.


My ticket has not been issued within 14 days – does that make it invalid?


The timeframe of 14 days only applies if the operator is relying on the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.  If the operator has not mentioned the use of the legislation within their notice, then they do not have to stick to the timelines stipulated within the Act.  This usually applies to tickets issued using ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition). 


I have had my appeal rejected by the operator and the ticket was issued in Scotland or Northern Ireland


From 1 May 2019 POPLA will be available to motorists in Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Follow the process outlined in the ticket and any correspondence with the operator should your initial appeal to them be rejected as this will contain the 10 digit code required to register your appeal with POPLA.


I have appealed the Parking Charge Notice to POPLA; however, I am still receiving Debt Recovery letters


We suggest you contact the debt recovery company to confirm a POPLA appeal has been registered.  The debt recovery company should then freeze the charge and refer the matter back to the operator who issued you with the ticket.  If the letters continue to be sent, please forward copies to


Disclaimer - As a membership services association the BPA is keen to ensure that members follow best practice and comply with the law; in support of this we share knowledge and provide a range of meetings and information services for members. In doing so, we use our best endeavours to keep members informed of the law.

Whilst the BPA and the author have made every effort to check facts and statements in this note, no liability can be accepted for negligence or otherwise in relation to the contents of the note. Legislation and guidance are subject to change and specific application, and readers should seek specific advice relating to their circumstances.

For further information visit the BPA website.


Read more in our Parking Glossary