Parking fines and Penalty Charge Notices

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PCN’s the quickest way to ruin your mood

PCN’s are given for parking restrictions and other traffic infringements such as non-payment of London congestion charges.

Getting a parking fine is one of the easiest ways to ruin your day.

If it happens though, don’t worry too much – it happens to most drivers at least once.

However, you can avoid having to fork out fines by getting up to date on where you can’t park!

Here’s a quick guide to Penalty Charge Notices.

Parking and PCN’s

Penalty Charge Notices are given out by Local Authorities for:

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

18,000 a day

During the year to April 2019 the number of parking tickets issued in the UK 6,000,000.

Source: RAC Foundation, 2019

Other reasons you may receive a PCN

You can receive a PCN for other offences, like breaking traffic rules:

  • Going against a ‘no right turn’ sign – Local Authority.
  • Driving in a bus lane – Local Authority.
  • Contravention on a Red route – Transport for London (TfL).
  • Not paying the congestion charge – (TfL).
  • Low emission zone PCN – (TfL).
  • Dartford Crossing (Dart Charge).

PCN Deadlines and penalties

The PCN fine is dependent on where you are in the country and differs from council to council.

Generally, though, if you receive a PCN, the charge is £50-£70 for outside London and up to £130 for London.

You have two choices here:

  • Pay the charge within 28 days (you will receive a 50% discount if paid within 14 days of the PCN issue date)
  • Challenge the PCN within 14 days of the date it was issued (if your appeal is upheld the 50% discount will be re-offered).

If you don’t pay a PCN within 28 days, you’ll get a ‘charge certificate’, and you’ll have 14 days to pay the original fine plus 50% more.

You’ll get a court order demanding payment if you don’t pay a charge certificate within 14 days.

The easiest thing to do is to pay your charge right away – unless you wish to appeal it. However, this is risky, as if your appeal fails, you will have to pay the full PCN price, plus a possible court fee.


Don’t be bullied by private parking companies those without BPA or IPC membership cannot get your details from the DVLA.

How to appeal against a PCN

Use the PCN appeal process if you believe a PCN should not have been issued.

However, be careful. Make sure you’re 100% sure that you weren’t in the wrong.

Sometimes it can be cheaper and easier just to pay the initial fine!

What is the difference between a (PCN) Penalty Charge Notice and Parking Charge Notice?

Private companies can issue parking tickets and may call them Parking Charge Notices, but they are not the same as the Penalty Charge Notice (Local Authorities).

They are not backed up by law, and you are not required to pay them.

If you get a parking fine check to see if the issuing firm is a member of the BPA or IPC if so, they can get your details from the DVLA. And, if the operator wants to force you to pay, they will need to take you to the civil court, which is costly and time-consuming.

A firm that is not a member cannot obtain your details from DVLA, and you are not required to pay them.