Finding a parking ticket stuck to your car isn’t fun – especially when it comes to paying the fine. The number of parking tickets issued in Britain hit a record 5.65m last year, but, with so many different types of fines, it can be difficult trying to keep track of everything. In this guide, we’ll explain what these fines are and how you can appeal them.
What is a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN)?
A Fixed Penalty Notice is an administrative alternative to being prosecuted in the magistrates’ court. If you decide not to pay a FPN and your case goes to court, you could be looking at a fine and penalty points.
You can receive an FPN on the spot or through the post and they can be endorsable or non-endorsable. If you receive an endorsable ticket you will usually get 3 points on your licence and a £100 fine. An example of an endorsable offence could be speeding or going through a red light.
A non-endorsable ticket usually means that you don’t get any points on your licence, but you do get a £50 fine.
Depending on the type of offence, your fine or penalty points could vary. Some parking offences, for instance, can result in a non-endorsable ticket and £30 fine (£40 in Greater London). Having no insurance is an endorsable offence and can result in a £300 fine and 6 penalty points on your licence.
Tickets for parking offences will usually be issued by traffic wardens who are employed by the police. They will give FPNs for serious violations.
What is a Parking Charge Notice (PCN)?
A parking notice is usually issued by a private parking operator or by parking attendants who are employed by the council.
A private parking operator will be managing the parking on private land. The operator should have the rules (terms and conditions) clearly displayed on signs and notices and give you the opportunity to leave the land. If you park your car without paying, you will be accepting the rules and could be issued with a parking notice.
A parking attendant will often be managing parking on a council-owned car park. They too must have the rules clearly displayed on signs and notices.
How long do I have to pay?
With both an FPN and a PCN you have up to 28 days to pay or contest. Usually, if you pay within 14 days, the amount you have to pay is halved. If you received your ticket through the post and there is photographic evidence, you usually have 21 days to pay at the reduced rate (half price).
If you receive the fine but don’t pay it, it is registered with the court and increased by 50%. The court will then enforce the fine and could issue a warrant for your arrest if you still refuse to pay.
If you don’t receive a parking ticket on the spot or through the post and instead return to your car and find it clamped or missing (because it's been towed), you will have to pay straight away to get your car back. Clamping or towing on private property is illegal in the majority of cases. Exceptions include airports or railway stations.
Can I appeal?
There is no formal appeal process for FPNs. If you don’t accept that you are guilty, you will have to have a day in court. Appealing an FPN can be expensive and, if you’re found guilty, you could end up having to pay a lot more than the original fine. If you do want to appeal, it can be worth getting advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor.
If you want to appeal a PCN:
- You can make an informal challenge with the council, if it was issued on the spot by a local council attendant.
- If you received it through the post and it was sent by a local council, you will need to make a formal challenge to the council.
- If it was a Dart PCN, you will need to make a representation with Dart Charge.
- If it was a Red route, Congestion Zone or Low emission zone PCN, you will need to make a representation with Transport for London.
If you do decide to appeal, it can be helpful if you have good-quality dash cam footage that you can use as evidence.
For more information about parking fines and penalty charge notices, please visit Gov.uk.