THE news that “dodgy” parking operators are set to be forced to comply with a strict new code of practice will be music to the ears of hard-done-by motorists who’ve had to fork-out for fines they suspect they did not deserve.

Some privately-run firms have been getting away with misleading – and often intimidating – payment letters, poor quality signage and unsatisfactory appeals processes for far too long.

The Northern Echo gets many, many complaints from members of the public who’ve fallen foul of such companies and their sharp practices.

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Some wish to warn others about confusing signs, some want to rail against an unfair system, and some want to protest their individual case, usually with justification.

Issuing parking fines is clearly a booming industry, with the government revealing over the weekend that firms are issuing nearly 13 times more tickets than a decade ago.

Operators which fail to comply with the “fair, clear and consistent” regulations to be set out in the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill will be hit where it hurts – on their balance sheets.

They will be blocked from accessing the DVLA’s driver data and issuing fines, and effectively forced out of the industry.

The fact that the mandatory code is being drawn up by the government and not the industry itself is critical.

And for all those who have been wrongly fined, bullied, threatened with court or left scratching their heads at totally ineffective complaints procedures, this bill cannot come into force soon enough.