Penalty charge notices

Parking and some traffic offences are enforced as a civil matter. A PCN will not give you points on your licence or a criminal record.

What is a Penalty Charge Notice?

A PCN is the official notice issued by the Local Authority Council CEO (Traffic Warden) for a vehicle which is contravening a parking restriction or regulation. The PCN can be issued by post as well as by hand, or applied to the car windscreen.

Penalty Charge Notices could be issued for:

  • Parking on double yellow lines.
  • Parking on single yellow lines.
  • Parking without a valid resident or visitor permit within Controlled Parking Zones.
  • Parking in disabled bays without a valid disabled badge.
  • Parking without a valid pay and display ticket in car parks.


Receiving a Penalty Charge Notice will currently cost you up to £70 (£130 in London).

Although these charges are reduced by 50 per cent if they are paid within 14 days, they could also increase by 50 per cent if they remain unpaid or uncontested after 28 days.

If unpaid, a PCN penalty will be treated as a civil debt and the enforcement authority will endeavour to recover this through the county court system. Ultimately this can result in a visit from the bailiff if the debt remains unpaid.

Challenging a Penalty Charge Notice

The Traffic Warden will follow a set of guidelines and regulations to ensure that PCNs are only issued when they believe a parking contravention has taken place.

However, if a motorist believes that a PCN should not have been issued then there are procedures in place to challenge the issuing of the notice. There are several stages to this process including an informal challenge and a formal representation.

If you are seeking help in challenging a Penalty Charge Notice, check this website for assistance with all the latest information, adjudicator’s decisions and court cases.

Civil or criminal parking offence?

In areas where the local authority do not have parking enforcement powers, the parking is enforced by the police or police-employed traffic wardens. They will issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) enforced through the criminal justice system.

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