THE Harrow Times’ campaign for better regulation of clamping companies took a large step forward this week after an important new law was passed.

Royal Assent was given to the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill, creating new powers for industry watchdogs, including the Security Industry Authority (SIA) which oversees clamping.

The law creates powers for regulators to impose heavier fines on dodgy companies, taking away a proportion of their profits if they are found to have breached the rules.

Local MP Gareth Thomas, a minister for trade and development who helped introduce the bill, said: “This bill means clampers who are breaching the rules, instead of being fined a small amount of money, they can lose a chunk of their profits.

“At the moment, it is still in the interests of the clampers to carry on clamping badly, and get fined less than they are earning. This law could change that.”

It is now up to the SIA to apply to the Home Office to be able to use the new powers.

The West London Times Series has been campaigning for months for tougher regulation on the clamping industry.

At the moment, SIA rules only instruct clamping operatives to give receipts for cash received and not to clamp disabled badge holders or emergency service vehicles.

They are not obliged to go any further, and while we accept there is a need for clampers to control parking on private land, we insist there must be stricter rules on the behaviour and methods of clampers as well as tougher penalties for those who break the rules.

Mr Thomas has joined our calls for the SIA to take on the new powers from the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill, but also to toughen up its rules on what clampers can and cannot do.

He said: “This is the first major step but not the end of the road. The SIA must now decide whether it needs these powers.”