Haulage and delivery companies should not be pressurised into paying excessive penalties for trespass demanded by aggressive traffic management enforcement companies at distribution centres and delivery points, who monitor breaches of traffic regulations on such sites.
Rather than pursue individual drivers for modest fixed charges, many site owners or their representatives are increasingly targeting their employers instead, consolidating their smaller claims against the individual drivers into one much larger claim against their employer. This can often run to thousands of pounds.
The owners claim that alleged breaches of waiting, stopping or parking rules constitute trespass, for which the driver's employer is liable. This tactic reduces the overall costs of pursuing these claims and allows them to sidestep time-consuming recovery procedures set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 which were designed to protect vehicle owners.
Crucially, though, when a claim is brought in trespass the landowner cannot charge a fixed fee. Rather, they must prove that they have suffered a loss equal to the amount claimed, despite having taken reasonable steps to minimise that loss. In many cases, it is unlikely that they will be able to so.
The original intent behind most traffic management schemes is reasonable - to ensure a free flow of traffic and safety in busy working environments, with tight turnaround schedules. However, many enforcement companies are becoming more and more aggressive and looking to exploit each potential infringement in order to turn a profit.
As such, we advise employers to ensure firstly that all drivers formally acknowledge that they understand and will comply with the rules at every location they visit - and if possible, to ensure that they can pass any penalties onto the drivers themselves. Beyond this, logistics businesses should challenge any landowner claiming trespass to prove they have suffered a loss.
There are a number of ways to do this and they should take advice from solicitors who are experienced in laws relating to parking recovery and trespass.
hlw Keeble Hawson's Litigation and Dispute Resolution team has a wealth of expertise and an enviable track-record of providing creative, cost-effective outcomes for clients of all types and sizes and works with each to resolve dispute in the manner that best suits their needs and budget.
If you would like to discuss the rising claims against logistics businesses for trespass, or any broader access or parking issues, please contact Thomas Freeman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0114 252 1472.