Parking Fines

parking fineWith effect from 31 March 2008 all Local Authorities who carry out decriminalised parking have to comply with the Traffic Management Act 2004. As part of this legislation a two tier charging system has been introduced where the parking fine will vary according to the seriousness of the offence. The fines applicable will differ depending on the region/city in which the offence has been committed, but it is useful to know that the penalty will be reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days. Read below for some frequently asked questions about Parking Fines.


Q. What happens to all the money collected by the Council from parking fines?
A. Most of the income from Penalty Charge Notice (“Parking Fines”) is used to pay for the costs of enforcement. These include the costs of employing the Civil Enforcement Officers, the administration staff involved in collecting the fines, maintenance of signs and lines and other associated costs. Any surplus after the costs have been paid has to be used towards the improvement of on-street or off-street parking facilities, measures to improve public transport or other highway associated improvements.

Q. Surely, there must be a right of appeal against a “Parking Fine”?
A. Yes there is a right of appeal. The Traffic Management Act 2004 sets out grounds on which you make representations to the Council. These are shown below and the Council may consider mitigating circumstances:

  • The recipient had never owned the vehicle
  • The recipient had ceased to be its owner before the date on which the alleged contravention occurred
  • The recipient became its owner after the date on which the alleged contravention occurred
  • The alleged contravention did not occur
  • The vehicle was stolen at the time of the offence (documentary proof from the police will be required)
  • The relevant Traffic Regulation Order is invalid
  • The owner of the vehicle is a Hire firm and the hirer has signed a statement of liability for any Penalty Charge Notices. (In this case the hirer will be held to be liable and the city council will proceed against the hirer)
  • The amount of the Penalty Charge exceeds the appropriate amount. (In practice this has been correctly approved by the Council and the Department of Transport, so any challenge is unlikely to be successful)
  • There has been a procedural impropriety by the Enforcement Authority
  • The Notice to owner should not have been served because the Penalty Charge Notice had already been paid

Q. I’ve been issued with a “parking fine” – I had only gone for change. What can I do about it?
A. There is no obligation on the City Council to allow any time for motorists to obtain change for Pay & Display machines. The motorist should arrive equipped with change for the machines if he / she intends to park in these spaces. In practice the Civil Enforcement Officers carry out observation for 5 minutes before issuing a Penalty Charge Notice. However, once the Notice has been issued, it will not be cancelled in circumstances where the motorist has gone to obtain change and this has taken longer than the observation period.

Q. My meeting/doctor’s appointment/dental appointment over-ran and I’ve now received a parking fine because my Pay & Display ticket expired.
A. Unfortunately the Penalty Charge will not be cancelled in these circumstances. It is the motorist’s responsibility to purchase enough time to cover the duration of the parking time required, allowing for any possible over-running of meetings or appointments. In these situations it is advisable to use a car park where payment is made upon return.

Q. I have been at a Wedding/Funeral and the service ran over the expected time.
A. Only the Official Wedding cars (i.e. The Bridal party) are exempt. Any other wedding guests should park within the normal rules. Similarly only the Official Hearse and any other car provided by the Funeral Director are exempt. All other people attending the funeral should park within normal rules.

Q. I lost track of time whilst I was shopping and now I’ve received a parking fine.
A. Again, unfortunately the Penalty Charge will not be cancelled in these circumstances. It is the motorist’s responsibility to purchase enough time to cover the duration of the parking time required. It is important to make a note of the expiry time on your Pay & Display ticket and then keep a check of time, to make sure you do not over-run your paid for time. In such a situation it is advisable to look for shopping malls in your area that provide parking passes to their customers at a discounted rate, either at their own parking facility or an affiliated facility in the locality.

Q. I’m a delivery driver – What about delivering to businesses in the city centre?
A. Generally deliveries can be made within the Clear Zone before 10:00 and after 16:30. In most other areas (except where the streets are signed “no loading”) where there is an allocation of a Loading Bay, deliveries can be made at any time. If you are parked on single yellow lines loading can be restricted depending on the time, however, in both cases Civil Enforcement Officers will expect to see loading / unloading activity as follows:

  • every 5 minutes for saloon vehicles, estate cars and 4×4 vehicles
  • every 10 minutes for vans up to “Transit” size
  • every 20 minutes for HGVs.

Always watch out for signs that indicate any parking activity allowed in the zone in which you want to deliver.

Q. I was delivering to a business and have been issued a Penalty Charge. I thought I was allowed to unload on yellow lines or without buying a Pay & Display Ticket in parking bays.
A. Unless there is a loading ban (marked by lines across the kerb as well as parallel with the kerb), loading / unloading is permitted. However, the Civil Enforcement Officer must see loading activity happening. If your vehicle was left unattended for more than the times shown (above), it is unlikely that the Penalty Charge will be cancelled – unless you can prove that the goods were so very heavy / bulky that it would reasonably take longer than these times to take them to the relevant place. In any event delivery documents will need to be produced to enable the relevant authority to consider whether the charge can be cancelled. You cannot carry out loading/unloading activity on double yellow lines at any time.

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