There was an item on the news this evening concerning parking in supermarket car parks. It seems that there is two hour free parking. To enforce this rule private parking companies are used. This can mean clamping with outrageous charges, if your the motorist, to get unclamped. The clamping companies of course thing their charges are fair. Now various charities are saying this blanket two hour rule is discriminating against disabled people who might need more than two hours to do their shopping and is therefore against the law. A spokesperson for the charity Disability Alliance said “Supermarkets need to acknowledge there is a problem, and secondly, very quickly they need to ensure their car parking procedures conform with the law.
This got me thinking about motorway service areas. I use them a lot more than supermarket cat parks. They too have notices stating that after two free hours parking there will be charges. So I emailed Johnny at motorway services online and asked was this going to be an issue for service areas as well as supermarkets. He emailed me back saying the rules for service station parking came under the jurisdiction of the HighwaysAgency, a government body. They say all MSAs must provide free parking for a minimum of 2 hours. There have been complains to the Agency that this is not long enough for some disabled people but the Agency say the two hour rule is there for a good reason and the weren’t planning to change it.
If the supermarkets are breaking the law with their two hour rule then the government are also breaking the law by not making MSAs allow disabled people to park for longer than two hours. Not good when governments break the law. People have gone to war when that happens.