Pay or appeal a parking ticket (Penalty Charge Notice)
To pay a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), you will need to provide:
- the vehicle registration number; and,
- the Penalty Charge Notice number. This is prefixed by ZK or ZA.
- a PCN can also be paid by telephone using your debit or credit card.
Pay or appeal penalty charge notice
- Penalty charge discount notice period
- How do I challenge a penalty charge notice (PCN)?
- Stage 1 - Challenge
- Stage 2 - Representations
- Stage 3 - Formal appeal
- Notice to Owner (NtO)
- Charge certificate
- Order for recovery
- Enforcement agents
- Frequently asked questions
Penalty charge discount notice period
A discounted amount of either £25.00 or £35.00 is only applicable during the first 14 days from (and including) the date a Penalty Charge Notice is issued.
How do I challenge a penalty charge notice (PCN)?
There are three stages of the appeals process.
The council accept challenges or representations in writing. These can be by email or post. We may send our response to you by post only, so please include a postal address when emailing us.
All statutory documents (notice to owner, charge certificate and order for recovery) are sent by first class post.
Parking Services will carefully consider correspondence based on the information provided from a challenge or representation. It is important that you supply as much evidence as possible which supports your comments.
For example this could include:
- evidence of a delivery
- medical evidence
- a pay and display ticket
- crime reference number
- proof of an emergency
Please remember that if you pay your PCN, a challenge will not be accepted as this is an admission of liability.
Stage 1 - Challenge
Challenges can be made by anyone and sent in writing to Parking Services.
A challenge received within the initial 28 day period from the date that the PCN is issued will be considered in line with policy. If the challenge is received within the first 14 days (during which the discounted rate applies), the council will extend the discount period whilst they consider it and will usually re-offer the discount period for a further 14 days if a letter of rejection is sent. If a challenge is rejected the council will provide information about the next stage in the process and explain why the decision has been made.
Second challenges are not accepted. However, if the council requests more evidence or details, a letter requesting the information within 14 days will be sent to the motorist. If the evidence is not received within 14 days, the challenge will be rejected.
If the challenge is accepted, the PCN will be cancelled and a letter will be sent to the motorist.
Stage 2 - Representations
A formal representation can be made by the owner of the vehicle following service of a Notice to Owner.
If a challenge is rejected, the council will send a letter clearly explaining the reason that this decision has been made and will serve a Notice to Owner (NTO) a few weeks later. A formal representation can then be submitted by the owner of the vehicle using the NTO and sent to the council. If the representation is rejected a Notice of Rejection will be sent which provides information about the next stage in the process.
If the council do not receive a representation within 28 days from the NTO, a Charge Certificate may be served and the motorist loses any further right to dispute the PCN.
Stage 3 - Formal appeal
A formal appeal can be made to the Independent Parking Adjudicator following a Notice of Rejection from the council.
Following the receipt of a Notice of Rejection sent by the council, if the owner of the vehicle is not satisfied by the outcome of a representation, the owner of the vehicle is then entitled to make an appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
The Traffic Penalty Tribunal is an independent body which has been set up to ensure that unresolved legal disputes between the motorist and the council can be heard at a formal tribunal hearing. This body is independent of the council.
An appeal can be heard by post (using all the paperwork and evidence sent to the Tribunal), by telephone hearing or by a personal hearing.
Notice to Owner (NtO)
The Notice to Owner (NtO) is the first legal notification that the registered keeper/owner of the vehicle will receive in relation to a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). The PCN may or may not have been served on the registered keeper of the vehicle and therefore the NtO is the legal document upon which all subsequent enforcement of the PCN rests. The NtO includes details about PCN, explains how the process will continue if the charge remains unpaid, how to pay the PCN, instructions about how to make a representation and the grounds upon which a representation can be made.
There are nine grounds for making representations:
- The contravention did not occur
- I was not the owner/keeper of the vehicle at the time of the contravention
- The vehicle had been taken without my consent
- We are a hire firm and have supplied the name of the hirer
- The Penalty exceeded the relevant amount
- That there has been a procedural impropriety
- The traffic order was invalid
- The CEO was not prevented from serving the Penalty Charge Notice
- The Penalty Charge Notice was paid
If a PCN remains unpaid 28 days following service of the Notice to Owner (NtO), the council will serve a Charge Certificate which informs the registered keeper/owner of the vehicle that there is no longer a formal right to appeal the PCN. The Charge Certificate also increases the charge by 50%, with from £50.00 to £75.00 or £70.00 to £105.00.
Order for recovery
If a PCN remains unpaid for a minimum of 14 days following service of the Charge Certificate, the council may register the charge as a debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC). Once the debt has been registered the charge will increase to either £84.00 or £114.00 and the TEC will authorise the council to send an Order for Recovery for the outstanding amount. Following service of the Order for Recovery a debtor can either pay or fill in a Witness Statement which is supplied with the Order for Recovery.
If a PCN remains unpaid following the Order for Recovery, the council will apply to the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) for authorisation to prepare a Warrant of Control. When granted, the warrant is produced and the debt will be passed to a certified Enforcement Agent to collect the outstanding amount. The Enforcement Agent will apply fees in line with The Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. At this stage, the council is no longer responsible for the collection of the unpaid debt and the debtor should contact the Enforcement Agent.
Enforcement Agents have specialised teams which consider and handle welfare or financial difficulties and therefore customers should discuss any concerns with them.
Frequently asked questions
The following 'Questions and Answers' may be useful when considering whether to Challenge or make Representations to the Council against a PCN.
Q. The details on the PCN are incorrect, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. If the Vehicle Registration Mark, the location or the Contravention Code is incorrectly recorded on the PCN, the Council will cancel it. All the other details that the Officer records on the PCN are supportive and therefore if they noted incorrectly, would not justify cancelling the PCN.
Q. I was arrested so couldn't move my vehicle, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. If you can supply evidence of the arrest which covers the time in which the PCN was issued, the Council may be able to cancel the PCN.
Q. I was loading or unloading, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. Depending on the restriction you were parked on, what you were loading or unloading and if you can supply evidence of this, the Council may consider cancelling the PCN. The Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) must carry out an observation period when issuing a PCN under certain contravention codes and this is to determine whether an exempt activity is being carried out. For example, a CEO will allow at least 5 minutes observation before issuing a PCN to a vehicle parked on a yellow line restriction.
Q. I ran out of petrol, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. It is the responsibility of the motorist to make sure that the vehicle has sufficient petrol for a journey. As running out of petrol could be avoided, the PCN may not be cancelled.
Q. My car broke down, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. If your car was parked on the street and you can supply evidence of the vehicle breaking down the Council may consider cancelling the PCN. If your vehicle was in a car park, payment for parking can be made even if you have no access to your vehicle and therefore the PCN may not be cancelled. In these circumstances the Council would expect contact to be made by the vehicle owner to advise that the vehicle has broken down.
Q. I was delayed arriving back to my car, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. Although it is recognised that delays do occur; it is the responsibility of a motorist to take into consideration any unforeseen delays which may occur. For example, it is likely that there could be a queue in a shop or in a bank and therefore the appropriate charge and location for parking should be arranged to cover any possible delay. A PCN may not be cancelled unless evidence is provided which demonstrates that the delay was unexpected, such as an emergency situation arising.
Q I have a valid Blue Badge but I didn't display it, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. For a Blue Badge to be considered as a valid exemption it must be clearly displayed continuously on the dashboard of a vehicle. If this was not the case, then the PCN may not be cancelled. The conditions relating to Blue Badges are described in 'The Blue Badge Scheme: rights and responsibilities in England' handbook which is provided when every Blue Badge is issued. If the Blue Badge had fallen from view but the CEO was able to see an identifiable item on a badge in the vehicle, this will be noted and a Challenge may be accepted and the PCN cancelled if a copy of the badge is provided.
Q. I didn't set my Blue Badge Clock/Disc correctly, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. For a Blue Badge to be deemed a valid exemption the clock must be displayed correctly with the badge itself and set to the time of arrival. If this was not the case, then the PCN may not be cancelled. The conditions relating to Blue Badges are described in 'The Blue Badge Scheme: rights and responsibilities in England' handbook which is provided when every Blue Badge is issued.
Q. I didn't realise that my Blue Badge had expired, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. For a Blue Badge to be deemed a valid exemption it must be in date and displayed clearly. If this was not the case, then the PCN may not be cancelled. The conditions relating to Blue Badges are described in 'The Blue Badge Scheme: rights and responsibilities in England' handbook which is provided when every Blue Badge is issued.
Q. I parked in a loading bay but I had displayed my Blue Badge, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. Blue badges are not valid for use in loading bay restrictions, and therefore the PCN may not be cancelled. The conditions relating to Blue Badges are described in 'The Blue Badge Scheme: rights and responsibilities in England' handbook which is provided when every Blue Badge is issued.
Q. I became sick/ill, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. Some situations are unforeseen and therefore the Council may consider cancelling the PCN if evidence is provided to support the circumstances which are described.
Q. I lost my car keys, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. If you are parked in a council car park, there are remote services (MiPermit) to pay for your parking until the vehicle can be moved in this circumstance the PCN may not be cancelled. If you are parked on street and you can supply evidence that you lost your keys and/or purchased another set the Council may be prepared to cancel the PCN.
Q. I had a Pay and Display (P&D) ticket but it flipped over / fell off the dashboard, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. CEO's will check a vehicle thoroughly when patrolling. If they can see the serial number on a P&D ticket inside a vehicle they will log it in their notes. The Council may consider cancelling a PCN on the first occasion if the P&D is supplied and if it was valid at the time the PCN was issued and has a matching serial number. Therefore any future PCN's issued for the same reason may not be cancelled.
Q. I forgot to display the P&D ticket, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. The P&D ticket is only valid when displayed clearly on the dashboard of the car. As it is the responsibility of the driver to display the P&D ticket before leaving the vehicle parked, cancelling the PCN is not felt to be justifiable in these circumstances.
Q. The P&D machine was out of order/didn't accept my money, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. The Council acknowledges that occasionally faults can occur. If you are parked in a council car park, there are remote services (MiPermit) to pay for your parking and there are at least two pay and display machines in all of the car parks. If you are parked on street there will at least two pay and display machines covering that location. The Council may therefore not consider cancelling a PCN as it would be reasonable to expect a customer to use another machine or a different payment method. We would always request that customers report faults at the time if a problem arises.
Q. I didn't have any change to pay, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. It is the motorist responsibility to arrive at the parking location with adequate change or another means to pay for parking as soon as the vehicle is parked. If this is not the case alternative parking should be found as the Council may not cancel the PCN.
Q. I didn't know I had to pay / display a P&D ticket to park, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. To make sure that the conditions of parking are clear, there are signs in off street and on street parking places. Having ensured that all the information is clear, it is then the responsibility of the motorist to observe all signs and lines/road markings and charges boards prior to leaving the vehicle parked. As there is sufficient information to alert motorists of the hours that the pay and display charges are operative, the PCN may not be cancelled.
Q. I thought I put the right amount of money into the pay and display machine, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. The payment machines enable customers to check the value of the coins which have registered. It is the responsibility of the motorist to check this and the ticket prior to leaving the vehicle. If you can supply the pay and display ticket that you purchased and it was valid at the time the PCN was issued, the Council may be prepared to cancel the PCN.
Q. I forgot to display / renew my permit or season ticket, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. We do provide a reminder email to help customers to remember to renew season tickets or permits, however, it remains the customer's responsibility to ensure that it's valid when parking and if it is not, the Council may not cancel the PCN.
Q. I didn't receive my renewal reminder will the PCN be cancelled?
A. Whereas the Council choose to send reminders to help customers remember to renew, it remains the customer's responsibility to ensure that the season ticket or permit is valid when parking. The Council may not cancel the PCN.
Q. My permit was displayed but it fell from view, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. The Council will check records and if only one Vehicle Registration Mark is logged against the permit, we may consider cancelling a PCN on the first occasion. Therefore any further PCN's issued for the same reason may not be cancelled. If multiple Vehicle Registration Marks are allocated to the permit the Council may not cancel the PCN.
Q I had a valid permit / season ticket but it didn't have the correct Vehicle Registration Mark assigned to it, will the PCN be cancelled?
A. Permits and season tickets are vehicle specific therefore the correct registration marks must be logged against them. Forgetting to change a registration or logging the incorrect registration would not usually justify the cancellation of the PCN.