Have you received a parking ticket?
WARNING as you will see from the above picture taken on Good Friday some councils such as Kensington and Chelsea enforce single yellow lines on bank holidays even though they don’t tell you. This is a great way for them to rake in a fortune.
In the days of the old traffic warden if you parked illegally the probability was that you would not get caught. However with the advent of “decriminalised parking enforcement” carried out by local councils, the likelihood of being caught is much greater. This started in London in 1994 and is now being introduced in towns and cities throughout the land. And worse still local authorities are now using CCTV enforcement as their latest weapon against illegal parking and moving traffic offences.
It is essential that Motorists understand parking regulations and especially what a local authority is required to do with their procedures, signage, lineage, compliance with government guidance etc. Quite often errors made by local aothorities mean that parking tickets are unenforceable.
In the year to 31st March 2011, 4,022,476 penalty charge notices (parking tickets) were issued in London alone for parking contraventions. Plus almost 780,000 more for other contraventions such as Bus Lanes and moving traffic. Transport for London alone issued over half a million tickets with a face value of over £66million. A similar number is issued nationwide.
However many hundreds of thousands of tickets are cancelled each year either by the councils themselves or the parking adjudicator.
In fact in a very high percentage of cases, at adjudication councils do not even bother to defend the case which we think is disgraceful. And where they do defend the motorists win in more than 50% of cases in the areas where we have checked.
The use of parking and moving traffic enforcement for revenue raising is illegal but some councils place enormous pressure on their parking attendants to issue tickets. Councils subcontract out their parking enforcement to companies like NCP and APCOA. These are companies who are in business to make money. Some of them give rewards such as Argos points for the most productive wardens.
This website is our opportunity to help motorists “fight back”.
We have had many successes in making parking enforcement fairer. Our latest being to persuade Westminster Council in London to stop enforcement by moped based Civil Enforcement officers. In June 08 we provided evidence to the BBC about illegal enforcement by councils of some parking and moving traffic contraventions. This resulted in a major news article and 2 statements issued by the department of transport. See further on for other success stories where we have helped the motorist.
Much of the content of the website is free of charge but as you can imagine it has taken many months to set up and it has cost many thousands of pounds. If you would like to contribute to our ongoing efforts in fighting for the motorist or show your gratitude for us helping to have your penalty charge notice cancelled then please join today. By joining and supporting us you will unlock further information to help you fight you penalty charge notice and you will also be contributing to our continuing efforts through campaigning and lobbying to have the current system overhauled.You will also have access to our email helpline if you have a specific question. We cover the whole of England and Wales.
The current system is an absolute disgrace and we are working relentlessly to have it changed. Every month we expose wrongdoing by councils in the media in the hope that the government will do something about it.
A few years ago there was a detailed report prepared on parking enforcement in London after extensive fact finding and meetings. Lynne Featherstone was the Chair and the opening two paragraphs of her introduction are as follows.
“There is nothing like coming back to your car and finding an “unfair” parking ticket not to raise not only our blood pressure but also our innate sense of fair play but “what is fair?”.
In a city which has too many cars to move around or park without associated rules, we expect restrictions or penalties so long as their purpose is to alleviate traffic problems and not to raise revenue. Other extracts from their report are as follows.
“There is undoubtedly for many Londoners a suspicion that the nature of parking enforcement contracts, the number of tickets being issued as well as the instances of improperly issued tickets – whatever the magnitude – represent parking enforcement being used as revenue raising.”
The report also says, “Some members of the public now believe that the distinction between the need for maintaining safe traffic flow and regulating parking space has become blurred. Many view parking enforcement as an invisible tax.”
Interestingly enough despite the current climate the report confirms “Indeed there is evidence that many people will give up, having had their representations rejected when in fact they have well founded grounds for contesting liability”. We say this is because the threat of the loosing of a 50% discount discourages motorists to pay up even when they know they should not have been issued with a PCN.
Finally the Chief Parking Adjudicator, Martin Wood was recently quoted as saying “There is nothing to gain from a situation which allows the state to impose a penalty on a citizen without the citizen being fully aware of the reasons for that penalty and having confidence that the fine is being imposed fairly, efficiently and effectively”.
Fact: Did you know that you usually have nothing to lose by writing into a local authority as soon as you receive a penalty charge notice (PCN). Nearly all local authorities will accept informal representations (also known as challenges) and hold the discount until 14 days after they reply to your letter. This is not part of the formal appeals process. Many penalty charge notices do not state this. (this does not necessarily always apply to CCTV issued parking fines).
Fact: Over 4 million Penalty Charge Notices (PCNS) issued in London alone during the Year 2010 – 2011 and an increasing number being issued by more and more local authorities across the country.
Fact: The number of PCNs issued nationwide has increased substantially every year as more and more local authorities take over decriminalised parking and moving traffic enforcement.
Fact: Over 140,000 vehicles clamped in London alone in the year 2003 – 2004! In the year 2007 – 2008 this had reduced to 48,753 in London – plus many more nationwide. Hopefully the amount of vehicles clamped will be reduced considerably government guidance discourages clamping and some local authorities have already stopped it. We have always said how silly to clamp an illegally parked vehicle. It simply ensures that it remains illegally parked for longer.
Fact : Over 75,000 vehicles towed away in London alone in the year 2003 – 2004! In 2007 – 2008 this had increased to 87,770 in London – plus many more nationwide. This should also be reduced considerably due government guidance which was issued to local authorities in March 2008. Some councils have already stopped towing away vehicles. Although Camden in London stopped and have now started again.
Fact: The number of PCNs issued nationwide are set to increase dramatically particularly for moving traffic offences since local councils and Transport for London (TFL) are now using camera enforcement! You will not know that you have received a PCN until it arrives in the post up to 4 weeks later by which time you have forgotten the circumstances and are less likely to be able to appeal.
Fact: Some parking attendants and parking contractors receive financial incentives based on the number of tickets issued or are set quotas with severe financial penalties if they do not meet them. This practice is now being discouraged but parking attendants that we speak to tell us about the pressure that they are under.
Fact: Only around 1% of motorists issued with a PCN actually appeal to the Adjudicator! However around 60% of all appeals to the Adjudicator are successful. And in Westminster in central London around 90% of all appeals to the adjudicator were accepted in the year 2006/2007 and 82% in the year ending 2008. 73% of the appeals allowed in the year ending 2008 in Westminster were not even contested by them.
Fact: Around 20% of all PCNs issued by London boroughs are cancelled by them upon representation. That’s over one million PCN’s in London alone and many more nationwide.
Fact: Many motorists simply pay because they do not know on what grounds they could actually appeal or worse still they just can’t be bothered. On this site you will find details of pretty much every known way to have your PCN cancelled.
Fact: Some PCNs are issued fraudulently, thousands are issued for silly technical breaches of regulations and thousands to motorists confused by poor or non existent signage or lines. Westminster council has continued to issue hundreds of thousands of parking tickets on their yellow lines after it was brought to their attention that they were unenforceable.