The Association of Convenience Stores has welcomed government proposals to introduce more motorist-friendly council parking enforcement.

The country-wide plans were unveiled by Douglas Alexander, secretary of state for transport, this week.

They include clamping for persistent offenders only, special training for enforcement officers, an easier appeals process with a penalty charge discount re-offered after an informal challenge, as well as greater transparency and information for road users.

James Lowman, director of public affairs at the ACS, said: "Convenience retailers will welcome greater transparency in the formulation of local parking policies.

"The provision of free parking at out-of-town shopping facilities, compared with the inconvenience and cost of parking in many town centres and neighbourhoods, is one of the most important factors leading to the uneven playing field between large and small retailers."