30-Year-Old Loophole Could See Towing Fees Reversed

Tue 6th Apr 2021

Millions of UK drivers who had their car towed by the police or local council over the last 30 years could claim back the fines after it was revealed that the laws were accidentally deleted from the statute book in 1991.

A crazy report in this week’s Daily Mail has revealed that the error only came to light in view of a chance to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is due to come into force later this year. In the explanatory notes of the Bill it explains the hugely significant omission of the law which was introduced in 1984.

“The police's power to charge for the removal, storage and disposal of vehicles within the meaning of 'civil enforcement areas for parking contraventions' seems to have been inadvertently removed due to a drafting error,” the notes read according to the Daily Mail.
“At the same time, the powers of local authorities, the Secretary of State and strategic highways companies to charge for removal, storage and disposal of vehicles were also inadvertently removed.”

The error could mean that millions of drivers could have had their car towed and impounded, technically illegally, over the last 30 years. With fees of up to £150 to tow the vehicle and further charges for storage, it would only take one driver to challenge the omission in the courts to open the floodgates for millions of claims.

 “Drivers who in the last 30 years have been charged illegally should demand their vehicle confiscation costs be repaid in full,” Howard Cox of Fair Fuel UK told the Daily Mail.

“They should be checking they have the historic paperwork to mount a legal challenge. This is not a question of their offences being right or wrong – it is down to governmental incompetence that is off the scale.

“The authorities and those responsible must pay for this idiocy.”

The Daily Mail report has said that local government bodies are seeking legal advice on the potential consequences of the error.