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What Information Makes a Parking Ticket (PCN) Valid

May 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 171

A parking ticket (officially called Penalty Charge Notice or PCN in the United Kingdom) is a civil fine imposed on vehicles parked in contravention of a parking restriction or control. There are 41 different On-street parking restrictions in the United Kingdom e.g parking on a restricted street, footway parking, parking on a meter bay indicating penalty time etc

However regardless of which specific infringement is being enforced, all parking tickets must contain generic information without which they would not be valid.

This generic information must be on all parking tickets as required by the Secretary of State (Transport) issued through the Department of Transport's latest guidance to local authorities on parking enforcement. -'Operational Guidance to Local Authorities Parking Policy and Enforcement - Section 8.40 November 2010

The information is categorised as Mandatory and Recommended information.

Mandatory Information

The date on which the notice is served

A parking ticket without a date or with the wrong one will be invalid and unenforceable

The name of the Enforcement Authority

Penalty Charge Notices must contain the name of the enforcing authority. This would usually be the local authority in whose jurisdiction the alleged infringement took place.

The registration mark of the vehicle involved in the alleged contravention

If the vehicle registration mark on the ticket is wrong, the ticket will be invalid and unenforceable

Date and time at which the alleged contravention took place

If the time is incorrect, the ticket will be incorrect and invalid.

The grounds on which the enforcing officer believes that an infringement has occurred and a penalty payable.

This must be one of the standard contraventions authorised to be used by local authorities. These contraventions are represented by codes which are denoted by two digits. For instance code 01 for parking on a restricted street (single or double yellow line), code 04 for parking on a meter in penalty, code 21 for parking on a suspended bay etc

Local authorities are also allowed to use what are called suffixes which are complementary alphabets/numerals used together with the contravention codes to explain in greater detail the nature and meaning of the contravention. For example parking on a shared use bay (accommodating both permit and paid parking uses) without a valid permit or pay and display ticket will attract a code 06. However this code can also be applied for the same offence on a pay and display bay. Some authorities will use the suffix 's' together with a 06 on a shared use bay i.e. 06s and a p if the code is applied on a pay and display bay i.e. 06p

However the use of suffixes is not compulsory and their non use will not invalidate an otherwise correctly issued PCN. For a list of available suffixes please see section below

The amount of the penalty charge

The amount payable must be stated on the parking ticket. Differential charges for parking tickets reflecting the seriousness of the infringement were introduced in London in July 2007 and outside London in March 2008. For example stopping on a pedestrian crossing or within its white zig zag markings will attract a heavier financial penalty that overstaying on a meter or pay and display bay.

There are 2 bands of charges outside London and 3 bands within London; these are reviewed from time to time by the Secretary of State for Transport.

Payment and Appeals procedures (Mandatory)

The ticket must provide information on how it can be paid i.e. by phone, postage, website etc including postal addressees Deadlines for payment must also be stated. A 14 day period must be allowed for paying the charge at 50% of the stated charge

The ticket must allow 28 days for payment in full from the date it was issued. This means if the discounted payment is not received within 14 days from the date of issue, full payment will be expected within the next 14 days (from the date the discounted payment offer expires) or 28 days overall from the fate the ticket was issued.

Appeal Process

The ticket must clearly outline the process of appeal including the following points

The formal process of appeal commences 28 days after the date the parking ticket is issued.

If the charge is not paid within this time (28 days from the date the ticket was issued) a Notice to Owner (NTO) will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle demanding payment in full or requesting a formal representation against the charge with the right to appeal to an independent adjudicator if the representation is turned down

That appeals (informal ones) will be entertained before the 28 days statutory period elapses (with the discounted rate still payable if the informal appeal is received within 14 days of the date the ticket was issued) triggering the generation of an NTO (Notice to Own

Recommended Information

Vehicle make and colour

The enforcing officer should include these details on the ticket and while no colour or the wrong one will not necessarily invalidate the ticket it will undermine its credibility. However where the colour is open to subjective interpretation e.g. green and turquoise a 'wrong' colour in the PCN will have no bearing on its validity.

Detailed location of the vehicle (full street name)

This should be included on the ticket and it is difficult seeing how a parking ticket can be deemed valid if it includes a wrong location such as an incorrect street. It is also reasonable to expect a point of reference on the street to be included in the location such as Outside No 24, Opposite No 41 or outside KFC etc. Seeing that restrictions are location specific, for instance a yellow line might not extend along the entire stretch of a street or a suspension might only affect part of a residents bay, not including a street reference indicating the exact position of the vehicle might call into question the tickets credibility especially if the dispute centres around where the vehicle was parked.

Enforcement officer's number

This should be included on all tickets. A parking ticket issued without the number of the enforcing officer will be unenforceable

Vehicles tax disc

This should be recorded and the Department of Transport guidelines advice the enforcement officer should give reasons if the tax disc details number and expiry date where not recorded.

Penalty Time

Should be recorded where relevant, such as on a meter.

For advise on appealing unfair or incorrect parking tickets in the UK, please check out the UK's most informative website on parking ticket appeals at

Wole Odetola is a qualified Transport Engineer and expert on stationary (parking) and Moving Traffic offences in the United Kingdom. He is also an Experienced Trainer who has developed and delivered classroom training on Road Traffic legislation across over 9 boroughs in London to different grades of council officials.

Wole holds an in Transport Engineering and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics

Source: EzineArticles
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