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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 11:25 GMT 12:25 UK
Clamping to be driven off streets
Wheel clamp
Wheel clamps are not popular with Islington residents
Wheel clampers are to be banned from the streets of a north London borough in response to drivers' complaints.

Islington Council said residents find clamping irritating because it means illegally parked cars cannot be moved and can make congestion worse.

Last year it clamped 23,000 vehicles, for which release fees totalled 1.3m.

Clamping will continue on private property, red routes, and housing estates where the council does not manage clamping.

The council said it was the last London borough to introduce clamping, in 2003, and will be the first to remove it.

We want our parking policies to be understood, as firm but fair
Councillor Steve Hitchins

Last year there were 3,644 appeals from drivers who had been clamped in the borough, and Islington said it is responding to concerns.

Council leader Steve Hitchins said: "[Residents] say 'clamping-it' just doesn't make sense and we are responding by calling a halt to clamping.

"We want our parking policies to be understood, as firm but fair, and as a council we want to show that we do listen."

The council said other measures taken in response to residents' concerns include extra parking bays.

The plan to stop clamping will be set out in a report to the council on 14 July.

Chief executive Bob Macnaughton of NCP, which runs the clamping service for Islington, said: "There is no question that clamping can play an important role in deterring illegal parking, but it is right that the public has a say in how deterrents such as this are used."

The council will keep reserve powers so those abusing disabled parking bays, persistent fine dodgers and owners of untaxed vehicles can still be clamped.

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