Parking & roads - Penalty Charge Notice

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The Local Council issues parking tickets, otherwise known as a "PCN” or “Parking Charge Notification”. Any appeals against a PCN should be made directly to the Council. resolver will help you throughout the process.

If you received a PCN within the first 3-minutes of arriving and were in the process of paying for a ticket or finding the machine, you can appeal the PCN but the decision will depend upon the Council. However, it is reasonable to take time to purchase a ticket and to appeal on these grounds. Please note that getting change for the parking meter is not deemed an acceptable reason for appealing.

Ensure you take photographs of the evidence and upload this into your resolver case file and send this through with your case. Include the street scene, road signs, and if you paid by meter any signage on the meter.

Parking ticket appeals

Most towns in England and Wales, all of Northern Ireland and in Scotland’s cities and larger towns, local authorities will patrol and enforce wait and load restrictions. In Scotland this enforcement is known as Civil Parking Enforcement or Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE). A parking ticket is only issued when a vehicle appears not to be complying with the rules and regulations. A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is commonly known as a parking ticket. Nobody likes receiving one but if you do, here is some information about how tickets are issued and the different types.

Parking ticket types

Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)

Local Authorities in England and Wales employ Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO) who patrol and manage parking on street and in local authority car parks. A CEO can issue a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) when they find a vehicle parked in contravention of the Regulations. Our rights guide provides information on PCN process.

Parking Charge Notice

These are issued by private parking operators who manage parking on private land, such as supermarkets, hospitals, railway stations and private residential areas.

Fixed Penalty Notices

Where Local Authorities do not employ Civil Enforcement Officers, usually police or traffic wardens will patrol and enforce parking restrictions. They issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) and these are criminal penalties. FPNs are issued for a wide range of offences in areas such as the more rural parts of England, Wales and Scotland. These tickets are enforced through the criminal justice system, which means appeals are heard in the relevant national or local court.

Excess Charge Notices

Where police and traffic wardens patrol and enforce waiting and loading restrictions, Local Authorities can still provide parking on-street and in car parks where they use Excess Charge Notices (ECN) when rules are broken. ECNs are processed by the Council. If there is a dispute, appeals take place in the relevant local courts, such as a Magistrates’ or Sheriffs’ Court.

Controlled Parking Zones

Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ): On-street resident parking schemes are an example of CPZs, where an area consisting of a number of interconnected streets have parking restrictions. All entry points have signs informing drivers that they are entering a CPZ. These signs could be as follows:

  • No waiting during specified times (yellow line)
  • No waiting at any time (double yellow line)
  • Permit holders only
  • Pay and display parking
  • Loading bays

Mitigating circumstances

If you have received a parking ticket and there were mitigating circumstances then you can appeal your ticket. These include:

  • Car broken down
  • Tending an emergency or clearing debris from the road
  • Dropping off an ill patient at hospital
  • Recent bereavement
  • Attending a funeral
  • A bay is suspended but your car was already parked there

If you were affected by one of the above reasons, you should provide as much evidence as possible to support your argument.

Someone else was driving the car

If you car was stolen then you should submit a copy of your crime reference number with your parking appeal as evidence that the parking ticket is not your responsibility.

Otherwise the parking ticket is the responsibility of the owner of the vehicle and not who was driving it.

Driving a motorbike/scooter

Are subject to the same restrictions as a car or van. There are some Councils that offer discounts for bikes or free designated spaces.

Did not own the vehicle

If you didn’t own the vehicle when the PCN was issued, you have a valid reason for appeal. If you were no longer the owner before the PCN was issued or only became the owner after the PCN was issued, you must provide evidence. An example of evidence could be the name and address of the person you sold the vehicle to or bought it from, provide proof of purchase or a copy of the DVLA registration form when the PCN was issued.

Vehicle was stolen

If you can provide a police crime report or insurance claim to prove your vehicle was stolen, you can appeal against the ticket.

Car broken down/(un)loading

If your car broke down or you were legally loading or unloading then you can appeal but you must provide evidence that this was the case in your appeal.

Technical appeal

Technical appeals do not happen very often but apply where the Council made a procedural error in issuing a parking order. Examples of grounds for technical appeals are as follows: failed to paint yellow lines properly; the Council sent you a postal PCN because it believes that someone prevented the traffic warden from issuing the notice but you don't think believe this to be the case; you have been charged more than you should be; or signs were not visible.

My car has been clamped/towed away

There are no rules on if you simply receive a ticket and your car is clamped or towed away. If you car is not where you left it you should call the Police immediately and also contact the Council. You can contact the Council via resolver.

In London you can also call Trace (24-hours a day), a service run by all the London Local Authorities and their number is 0845 206 8602.

If you feel this approach was too harsh, you can appeal and claim the approach was excessive and query why were you simply not given a ticket. However, if you were blocking a busy road or a narrow road, the Council can argue that it was not safe to leave your vehicle there.

Cannot afford to pay

If you do not pay the fine, this will become a debt and the Council will pass this over to a debt collection agency to recover the debt. Therefore it is really important that you pay the fine as otherwise the costs that you are liable for will increase.

Paid the fine and want to appeal

Once you have paid a parking fine, you have effectively admitted to the infraction and taken responsibility. At this point you cannot appeal the ticket.

Should you appeal?

If you pay the fine within 14-days, the charge is reduced by 50% so it is worth paying the ticket if you know you are in the wrong. If you appeal and it is rejected by the Council, the 50% reduction should still apply if you pay within 14-days from the date of the rejection letter. However, not all Local Authorities follow this rule so it is important to check beforehand.

Over 50% of appeals are successful.

Submitting your appeal

You must submit your appeal within 28-days of receiving the PCN. If you appeal within 14-days then you should be subject to the reduced fine if your appeal is rejected.

All UK Local Authorities can be found within resolver. You can submit your appeal via resolver and keep a complete record of your complaint. You should expect a response to your appeal within 14-days.

If the Council rejects your appeal?

If the Council rejects your appeal then request a Notice of Appeal. The document will be sent to you in the post. Be sure to complete the form and scan the document into your resolver account. We will then send your case through to the Appeal services with the exception of the Scottish service, which does not have a website or published email address.

The appeal service is free of charge, with 4 different appeal bodies. resolver will remind you when to appeal and, at your request, we will send your case to the correct appeal body.

England & Wales – Traffic Parking Tribunal

Northern Ireland – NI Traffic Penalty Tribunal

Scotland – Scottish Parking Appeals Service (resolver cannot submit to the Scottish Parking Appeals Service currenly)

London – PATAS

How the appeal works

The appeal is done either by post, online, phone or sometimes face to face. The decision from the appeal is effectively binding as there are limited alternative options available.

If you need to submit your issue, use resolver for free

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