Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser has given a guarded welcome to an apparent change of heart from the boss of Smart Parking.
The politician, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, was reacting to the announcement that Nigel Coltman, manager of Smart Parking, has stated he will review the firm’s practices following hundreds of complaints from motorists about the company’s site in Kinnoull Street, Perth.
Mr Fraser said he welcomed this pledge by Mr Coltman but stressed legislation is still required to regulate private parking firms. Constituents had previously contacted Mr Fraser to complain about a raft of problems with the Smart Parking in Perth, including being issued with excessive fines and aggressive payment demands.
The Scottish Government has previously announced that measures to crack down on private parking firms who issue motorists with fines of up to £180 could be included in the Transport (Scotland) Bill in the coming months. Mr Fraser is a long-term campaigner to protect motorists from unscrupulous private parking firms and published a Private Member’s Bill last year.
He called for a cap on fines and the introduction of an independent body to adjudicate on appeals.
On Tuesday, Mr Fraser said he has just written to Transport Secretary Michael Matheson to gauge what the Scottish Government’s next move will be on this matter.
He said: “A change of heart from Smart Parking would be very welcome but locals will believe it when they see it.
“However, I feel we still need legislative change at Holyrood. There is an opportunity to do this in the current Transport Bill.
“I have been pushing for a change in the law surrounding private parking firms who issue motorists with excessive fines.”
He added: “I have just written to Transport Secretary Michael Matheson seeking clarity on what the Scottish Government’s next steps are with this.”