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How to fight your parking fine


Feel that you were unfairly charged for parking? Here's what to do.

Parking sign

Councils can charge from £70 to £130 for a fixed-penalty in London, and from £40 to £70 everywhere else.

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The good news is you can appeal against any fine, often at little or no cost.

Types of parking tickets

First of all, understand what type of parking ticket you have.

  • Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) are issued by local authorities and Transport for London
  • Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) are issued by the police
  • Parking Charge Notices are issued on private land by private companies

Challenging a PCN ticket

If you were given a parking ticket, you can appeal in writing to the local authority or online within 28 days of the date the ticket was issued. The local authority will either:

  • accept your challenge and cancel the ticket
  • or reject it and send you a "Notice to Owner" with instructions on how to pay or make a "formal challenge"

If you challenge within 14 days and the challenge is turned down, you may only have to pay 50% of the penalty charge.

A traffic warden stood in front of a row of cars

If you were given a "Notice to Owner", you have 28 days to make a formal challenge. You can challenge for any reason but GOV.UK advises to:

  • Explain your reasons in as much detail as possible
  • Provide copies of any evidence or documents to support your challenge

The council then has 56 days to let you know the result of your appeal. The fine will be cancelled if they agree with you.

If it’s rejected, you can then take your case to an independent adjudicator, who'll weigh up the evidence.

Challenging an FPN ticket

If you’re issued with an FPN, you have 28 days to pay it. Otherwise, the fine is increased by 50% and you’ll receive a court summons if you don’t pay the charge.

If you want to challenge the fine, you can ask for a hearing in magistrates’ court. You can find more information about it on the back of the ticket.

Challenging an Excess or Standard Charge Notice

Typically, you have 28 days to pay this charge, which can be reduced by half if you pay it off within 14 days. You can appeal to the local or charging authority who issued the ticket.

Challenging a private parking fine

Traffic warden

With private companies, see if the company that’s issued the fine is a member of the British Parking Association (BPA) or the Independent Parking Committee (IPC).

If it does, you can challenge the company directly, by outlining reasons why you think the parking ticket was unfair. Most tickets will include details on how to do this.

Failing that, you can go through one of their trade bodies. The BPA’s is known as POPLA, and the IPC’s is called the Independent Appeals Service (IAS).

Challenging a private parking fine from non-trade members

If the company isn’t a member of the BPA or the IPC, you can write to them directly.

The company might accept your argument, disagree but not take it further or not reply at all - in which case you win.

But if the demand continues, which is more likely, you’ll need weigh up the cost of paying for it versus dealing with it.

Grounds for appeal

Your appeal stands a better chance of success if you can show your car was ticketed incorrectly e.g. if the parking signs were not clear, or if you were displaying the correct permit.

When you submit your appeal, gather as much evidence to support your case.

For instance, take photos if the parking signs were obscured by overgrown shrubbery, or if road markings were old and faded.


First published 30 July 2015


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