A perusal of the term ‘parking enforcement agencies’ in any reputable search engine shows that this way of controlling parking belongs in the main to ‘rich’ first-world and, usually, densely populated places and countries.
The justification for having parking enforcement agencies in the first place presupposes that parking spaces are so valued by the proprietors that the extra costs of hiring external people to enforce restricted parking are worthwhile.
There is an additional presupposition that there is a section of the motoring public that requires negative conditioning to conform to ownership wishes.
In most countries such as the United Kingdom parking enforcement agencies operate in two spheres:
- The public domain such as, pre-eminently, on-street parking situations
- The private domain including such things as residential parking attached to houses and blocks of flats and business such as hypermarket car parks
Returning to the United Kingdom, the twin planks of the parking enforcement agencies method of operating were:
- Use of the wheel clamp
- Use of towing away
Both of which were highly unpopular with the powerful and influential British motoring public. Public indignation mounted and eventually at the stroke of midnight 30 September-1 October 2012 the wide-ranging Protection of Freedoms Act of that year outlawed them both.
The wheel clamp had in Britain been a controversial import from Denver, Colorado where an orchestra violinist had invented it. It proved to be a money spinner for English and Welsh local authorities and various ‘wide-boy’ culture firms raked in the lolly from fault-finding harassed motorists who had parked without permission on private grounds.
As for the tow, during the 1980s especially life in the great cities of England and Wales was enlivened by the sight of giant mechanical grabbers capturing assorted motor vehicles and lifting them bodily onto towing lorries. Motorists hated providing this expensive and humiliating, not to emphasise inconvenient, public entertainment to small crowds of curious onlookers that invariably included gum-chewing children.
The exit of the clamp and the tow from parking control over private land in England and Wales has created a vacuum for landowners who, naturally, want to protect their precious parking spaces in ways that are:
- Totally legal
Our researches show that a first-class alternative that has its genesis prior to the aforementioned midnight hour is the combined use of digital photography and the Internet.
Originated by the pace-setting company Flashpark (there are no patents extant or pending) this has proved a brilliant success to date and we are sure that it will be copied internationally. It might reverse the path of the wheel clamp and be used in Denver, Colorado. Unlike with the enterprising musician, however, there are no royalties to pay to Flashpark or to anybody else.