statement from the Vehicle Immobilisers Association (VIA), a newly established Trade Association for Vehicle Immobilisers
A new trade association for the Vehicle Immobilising industry was established by a meeting of representatives of 26 companies on April 20, 2010. The companies present represented all areas of England and Wales. Representatives from of five of the companies, including two of the largest in the sector, were elected to form an executive committee to be responsible for establishing the Association. Michael Charman, who has been operating a parking control and clamping service in London and the South East for nearly 20 years, was elected as Chairman.
The Executive has written its Constitution which has been issued to all interested companies in the sector. They are in the process of completing the Vehicle Immobilisers Compliance Scheme, which gives a detailed and precise code of practise.
Michael Charman said –
“For the past 3 years the SIA have been organising 2 or 3 meetings a year which have acted as forums for the VI Sector. Although they were well attended, there seemed to be a lack of desire to take things any further. At the last meeting on March 16, there was a distinct change in attitude, probably as a result of being informed of the impending business licensing legislation. It was proposed that we should form our own association to properly represent the industry and help in the task of changing the image of the industry. I was invited to head the new association and a date was set for the first meeting a month later.
The meeting on April 20 was so well attended that we had to arrange for additional seating. Those present felt that although the Government and the BPA had tried to regulate the industry, it was not working as neither seemed to fully understand parking control on private land. It was agreed that the time had come to sort out the “rogue” elements by forming an association with a compliance scheme that would include a code of practise that would hopefully form part of the requirements for the intended business licensing. If any company was found to be in breach of the code, not only would they be required to leave the Association, but they would also forfeit their license to operate. The proposed code would be made available to the SIA, DVLA, BPA, RAC, AA and landowners for comment before it was finalised.
The announcement by Ms Featherstone has come as complete surprise. It would seem that one person has decided to make a decision in an attempt to commit the Government to a very controversial course of action, without consultation with private land owners or local councils. She has obviously not given any real thought to the mayhem such a ban would cause to housing estates, industrial estates, doctors surgeries and other areas of private land where the clamping of vehicles parked by people who have no consideration for the rights of the landowner has been a very necessary service for thousands of residents and tenants.
Everyone is in agreement that the current control of clamping and removal of vehicles on private land is inadequate, but the majority of companies have good working practices and are not “cowboys”. The fact that some companies have been charging such large amounts of money is because they could. Yes, it is immoral, but is that not indicative of society as a whole? People should also be reminded that the clamping companies have to pay 17.5% VAT on any revenue they receive.
The Association will continue to work to achieve its objectives. We are advising our members and landowners to lobby their MP’s to try and ensure that this proposal is not made statute or, at the very least, not before proper consultation is made with the people it will affect most, the private landowner, residents and the companies who carry out a genuine service for these people.”