The government has announced a ban on wheel clamping, towing away, and all other forms of vehicle immobilisation on private land in England and Wales.
Once implemented, anyone who clamps (or otherwise immobilises) a vehicle or tows it away on private land without specific legal authority to do so will face criminal proceedings or civil sanctions.
Clamping on private land is estimated to be worth £1bn a year to parking enforcement companies. The practice has drawn widespread criticism, however, following claims of extortion from unsuspecting drivers.
Announcing the ban, Home Office Minister Lynne Featherstone said: "The Government is committed to ending the menace of rogue private sector wheel-clampers once and for all.
"For too long motorists have fallen victim to unscrupulous tactics by many clamping firms. Reports of motorists being marched to cash points or left stranded after their car has been towed are simply unacceptable."
Regional and Local Transport Minister Norman Baker added: "The rules governing parking on private land should be proportionate and should not result in motorists being intimidated or forced to pay excessive fines. Cowboy clampers have had ample opportunity to mend their ways but the cases of bullying persist.
"That is why we are putting an end to these outrageous practices once and for all to ensure that drivers no longer have to fear intimidation from rogue traders, allowing the parking industry to begin to restore its reputation with the motoring public."