Speaking on the BBC’s The One Show on Monday, the Equalities and Criminal Information Minister Lynne Featherstone said that wheel clamping on private land would be outlawed.

This will, with the stroke of a pen, revoke about 2,000 clamping licences in England and Wales.

Clamping of this sort has been banned in Scotland since 1991, but Northern Ireland will get no such respite.

At the moment clamping companies and their operatives have to have Security Industry Authority licences.

But that has not helped many drivers who have fallen foul of this practice. Clampers have been known to target private land where there are little or no notices and then to charge extortionate release fees.

As motoring lawyer Nick Freeman put it “For a long time this has been nothing but an unregulated racket operated mainly by unscrupulous cowboys”.

The BBC website cites one case where “… on Monday, a nurse had been clamped while visiting a patient and told to pay £350 to get her car released, with another £50 charge for every hour she delayed payment”.

Edmund King the AA president hailed this as “a victory for justice and common sense".

Some however claim that motorists will now park on private land without a care and exploit the situation. This will possibly lead to more disputes. What they say is that it was not an outright ban on clamping that was needed but a proper set of regulated and acceptable laws.

But on The One Show Lynne Featherstone said that an outright ban was the right answer because of the level of complaints, especially from those that were unaware they were on private land.

The ban is expected to be part of the government’s Freedom Bill and be put in place in 2011.

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