Parking tickets

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Private Parking Ticket

It can be really annoying to see a parking ticket on your car’s windscreen. We have a guide that explains when you can dispute a ticket and how parking fines work. So, before you get upset, you should check if you have a valid reason to contest the ticket.

What are the types of parking tickets?

There are a few common types of parking tickets or traffic penalties:

Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) – Issued by the police

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) are issued by the police for a range of minor offences, including parking violations and dangerous driving. If you receive an FPN, points may be added to your driving licence, and you may be required to pay a financial penalty. In England and Wales, you typically have 28 days to pay the penalty or contest it in court.

Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) or Excess Charge Notice (ECN) – Issued by local authority traffic wardens

When it comes to parking tickets, the most common ones are the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) or the Excess Charge Notice (ECN), both issued by local authorities traffic wardens. You should be able to identify which one you have received, as it should be clearly stated on the ticket.

While both types of tickets are financial penalties, there is a significant difference between them. An Excess Charge Notice is considered a criminal charge, while a PCN is not.

Parking Charge Notice/PCN – Invoices issued by private companies for parking on private land

When you park on private land, such as in a supermarket or hospital car park, you may receive a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) from a private company if you overstay or do not follow the rules. PCNs are invoices that have been issued for a breach of contract and are not backed by law.

If you do not pay the amount owed, the parking company may write to you and may apply for a County Court judgment, but they will need to take you to civil court if they want you to pay the fine.

It is essential to understand the difference between PCNs and Penalty Charge Notices (issued for parking on public land) as PCNs are not backed by law and do not have the same legal standing.

Is the ticket justified?

When you receive a parking ticket, it is important to determine if it is justified. Consider if you violated any advertised parking conditions, parked on private land, or exceeded the time limit.

If you were in the wrong, evaluate if the amount being charged is reasonable. Keep in mind that private companies cannot issue fines, but rather send notices for breach of contract.

However, if you believe the ticket is unfair and was issued by an official body, it is crucial to act quickly and gather evidence to support your case. This can include photographs, witness statements, or any relevant parking permits or signage.

When can you challenge a parking ticket?

There are several circumstances where you can challenge a parking ticket. For example, if there were unclear signs or markings, or a fault in the technology used to issue the ticket, you may be able to challenge it. However, there are situations where you will not be able to challenge the ticket, such as if you parked on a single red or double yellow line, or in an area reserved for permit holders. If you blocked an entrance, bus stop, parking bay, or path of traffic, it will be challenging to appeal the ticket, and your chances of success are likely to be very low.

However, if you have mitigating circumstances such as being ill or the ticket falling off, you may be able to challenge the ticket. It is essential to proceed carefully and ensure you have enough evidence to support your claim. Keep in mind that challenging a parking ticket can be a lengthy and frustrating process, and there is no guarantee that your challenge will be upheld.

Know your rights if you’re clamped or towed

The prospect of having your car clamped or towed away is not a pleasant one and can cause concern about the cost of retrieving your vehicle or whether you can remove the clamp on your own.

Your car can be clamped if:

  • Illegal parking: If your car is parked on roads or public land, causing an obstruction, it can be clamped. This includes situations when your car has broken down and is obstructing the road.
  • Invalid insurance: It is important to ensure your car insurance is valid and that you have set up your policy correctly to avoid getting clamped.
  • Danger to other road users: The DVSA can clamp overloaded or unroadworthy vehicles that are deemed a danger to other road users.
  • Commercial vehicle: If you’re driving a commercial vehicle, you can be clamped if you’ve been driving for too many hours or haven’t paid previous fines. It’s important to ensure compliance with driving and parking regulations to avoid getting clamped.

Getting your car unclamped can be a hassle, and you may have to pay a fine, depending on the reason for the clamp. To avoid the inconvenience and cost of being clamped, make sure to park your car legally and keep your insurance and vehicle in good condition.

Your car can be towed if:

If you’ve parked illegally on public land, you run the risk of having your car towed away by the police or local councils. This can also happen if your car has broken down and is causing an obstruction.

Your car can also be towed away if it is untaxed. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has the power to tow any untaxed vehicle. It’s important to make sure your vehicle is taxed or declared off the road with a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) to avoid this happening.

In addition, if your car insurance is invalid, it could be towed away. Be sure to check that your policy is valid and up-to-date and that you have set up your renewal or new policy correctly.

It’s worth noting that in England, Scotland or Wales, it’s illegal for your car to be clamped, towed, blocked in or immobilised on private land by a private operator. So, if your car has been removed from private land without your consent, you should seek legal advice.

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How do I challenge a parking ticket?

If you believe that you have been issued an unfair parking ticket, there are certain steps that you can take to challenge it. However, the process of appealing a parking ticket can be complicated, and success is not guaranteed.

The first thing to check is who issued the ticket. Parking tickets can be issued by a variety of different bodies, including local councils, the police, and private companies. The appeals process may differ depending on who issued the ticket, so it’s important to know exactly who you are dealing with.

If you have received a ticket from an official body such as a local council or the police and you believe that it is unfair, you should act quickly to gather evidence. Taking photographs of the area surrounding your vehicle, including unclear signs, can be helpful. If there are any witnesses who saw the incident, it’s a good idea to ask for their contact details so that you can get in touch with them later on if necessary.

In general, paying the fine within 14 days will result in a lower cost. However, if you wish to challenge the ticket, you will need to go through the appeals process. This typically involves three stages: an informal appeal, a formal appeal, and an appeal to the Independent Tribunal. The length of the appeals process will vary depending on who issued the ticket and how busy they are, but it can be a lengthy and time-consuming process.

It’s important to note that the success rate of parking ticket appeals is not particularly high, with some estimates suggesting that it can be as low as 50%. Given these odds, it’s worth considering whether challenging the ticket is worth your time and effort.

Do you have to pay for a private parking fine?

Whether or not you are required to pay a private parking fine will depend on a number of factors. If the fine was issued by the police or local council workers, in the form of a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN), you will be required to pay it. This is because PCNs are backed by law, and failure to pay could result in a summons to court.

However, if the parking ticket was issued by a private company, such as a car park operator or university, the situation is different. Private parking fines, which are typically known as Parking Charge Notices (PCNs), are not technically fines at all. Instead, they are notices that the company believes you have breached a contract by parking on their property without authorization.

It’s important to note that private companies do not have the legal authority to demand payment from you, and you are not required to pay the fine unless a court orders you to do so. This means that, unlike with PCNs issued by the police or local council workers, private parking fines cannot be enforced through the courts.

If you receive a private parking fine, you may choose to challenge it. This could involve appealing directly to the company that issued the ticket, or taking your case to an independent appeals service such as the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) or the Independent Appeals Service (IAS). However, it’s worth noting that success rates for appeals against private parking fines can be low, and the process can be time-consuming and stressful.

What if the company is not a BPA or IPC member?

When challenging a private parking ticket, it’s important to determine whether the company that issued the ticket is a member of a trade body. The main trade bodies in the UK are the British Parking Association (BPA) and the International Parking Community (IPC), and you can check their websites to see if a parking company is a member of an accredited trade association (ATA).

Bpa - British Parking Association   Ipc - International Parking Community

If the company that issued your parking ticket is not a member of a trade body, this can be a strong reason to appeal the ticket. This is because trade body membership typically requires companies to adhere to certain standards and codes of practice, and to follow certain procedures when issuing parking tickets. If a company is not a member of a trade body, it may be more difficult to challenge the ticket, as there may be less oversight and regulation of their parking practices.

In such cases, you may need to consider other options for challenging the ticket. This could include appealing directly to the company that issued the ticket, or taking your case to an independent appeals service such as the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) or the Independent Appeals Service (IAS).

What are my options if my appeal is rejected?

If your formal appeal against a parking ticket is rejected, you may still have options for challenging the ticket. You will typically receive a ‘Notice of Rejection of Representations’ letter, along with a form called a ‘Notice of Appeal,’ which allows you to take your case to an independent tribunal.

One option is to appeal to an adjudicator appointed by the government. This can be worthwhile, as the adjudicator will not be affiliated with the council or authority that issued the ticket, and may be more impartial in their decision-making. To appeal to an adjudicator, you will need to submit the Notice of Appeal form within 30 days of the date it was issued.

Another option is to seek legal advice and potentially take your case to court. This can be a more complex and time-consuming process, but may be necessary if you believe the parking ticket was issued unfairly or unlawfully.

It’s worth noting that the success rates for appeals against parking tickets can be low, and the process can be stressful and time-consuming. However, if you believe you have a strong case, it may be worth pursuing your options for challenging the ticket. It’s also important to remember that ignoring a parking ticket or failing to pay it can lead to further fines, legal action, and damage to your credit score.

Do parking tickets affect my car insurance?

Fortunately, receiving a parking ticket typically should not affect your car insurance premium. Parking tickets are not considered a reflection of your driving habits or ability to drive safely, and car insurance companies tend to focus on driving-related factors like speeding tickets, accidents, and traffic violations.

If you do happen to receive a parking ticket, you generally do not need to inform your car insurance company about it. Your insurance company is unlikely to use this information to determine your risk level, as parking tickets are not seen as an indicator of your likelihood of getting into an accident or submitting a claim.

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However, it’s important to note that ignoring a parking ticket or failing to pay it can result in additional fines, legal action, and damage to your credit score. Therefore, it’s generally a good idea to address any parking tickets promptly to avoid these potential consequences.

Tips for avoiding parking tickets

Double yellow lines indicate no parking at any time, even if you’re only stopping for a moment. The only exception is if you’re stopping to load or unload your vehicle.

Double Yellow Line

A clearway is marked with a red cross over a blue background, and it means no stopping at any time, not even to pick up or drop off passengers.


Ensure that you display your parking ticket clearly and legibly so that a parking warden can read it. Always check that it is visible after you have closed your car door.

Private Parking Ticket

Even if you don’t see other cars displaying tickets, be aware of parking signs and ensure that you are not breaking any local restrictions.

If you use a Blue Badge, make sure you check the parking restrictions and whether you need to pay or display a ticket.

Blue Badge Parking

Always park in designated parking areas, such as car parks, to avoid getting ticketed.

Check any time restrictions on parking, as they can vary depending on the location and time of day.

Parking Restrictions In Car Park

Ensure that you do not block driveways or entrances, even if you’re only stopping for a minute.

If you’re parked in a metered space, ensure that you keep the parking up-to-date to avoid getting ticketed.

If you’re unsure about the parking restrictions in a particular area, consider looking for alternative parking options, such as a nearby car park or street parking in a different area.

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Frequently asked questions

Parking tickets are unlikely to directly impact your car insurance premium. However, if a parking ticket goes unpaid and is sent to collections, it could have an effect on your credit-based insurance score, which in turn could impact the cost of your insurance.

You do not need to inform your insurance company about a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) you have received.

Generally, insurance companies do not require this information unless you are applying for a new policy or renewing an existing one, in which case they only need to know about traffic incidents you were involved in.

A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) will not affect your car insurance premium, and you are not required to inform your insurance provider about it.

A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is not a criminal offence, and as such, you will not receive a criminal record or points on your driving licence.

It is a penalty for breaching parking regulations and can be paid, contested by appeal, or defended against a claim for payment under the small claims track of the county court.

A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is a fine issued by a local council or transport authority for breaking parking regulations. On the other hand, a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) is a notice from a private company stating that you owe them money because you violated the terms and conditions of using their car park.

If you don’t pay a private parking ticket in the UK, the cost could increase as you may have to pay court costs, and Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) are increased by 50% if you don’t pay on time. Additionally, your credit rating could be affected, and the court may send bailiffs to seize your belongings if the payment is still not made.

If you have specified in your insurance policy that you park your car in a garage, driveway, or private car park, leaving it parked on the street can invalidate your cover.

So, it’s important to check the terms of your policy and make sure that you are parking your car in the location specified in your insurance policy.

If your car is insured and you park it illegally, your insurance cover will still be valid. However, it’s important to note that if your car gets towed away due to illegal parking, it will not be considered as stolen and you won’t be able to make a claim for it.

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