MSE News

Fewer drivers appeal council parking fines

The number of motorists who fight their council parking ticket and go all the way to the independent appeals body has dropped by 7.7% – even though more fines are being issued.

The latest figures released by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT), which handles appeals against penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued in England and Wales (excluding London), show that in 2016/17:

  • The number of parking appeals DROPPED by 7.7% – from 12,734 to 11,757.
  • The total number of PCNs issued for parking offences ROSE by 5.9% – from 4,472,108 to 4,737,306.

The data also shows that the proportion of appeals which are successful remains steady at 56% – proving that many of those who do decide to fight their case can save cash.

PCNs are tickets issued by councils under their civil enforcement powers. They shouldn't be mixed up with private parking tickets – which aren't official fines – but often mimic them with names such as "parking charge notice."

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How do I appeal a parking ticket?

How you fight a parking ticket depends on whether it's an official PCN or a ticket from a private firm – we have full guides on dealing with both:

If you're complaining to a council, there are a number of grounds for appeal, such as signs being wrong or there being an error on the ticket, full details of which are in the guide.

But even if you're not able to appeal on these grounds, you may be able to appeal if there were mitigating circumstances when you were given a ticket – for example, if your car was broken down or you were too ill to move your car.

If you decide to fight a council parking ticket, the first stage is to appeal – informally first, if the ticket was put on your windscreen, and then formally to whoever issued the ticket, usually the council. It's only after this, if your appeal is unsuccessful, that you can go to an independent adjudicator – which for England outside the capital and Wales is the TPT.

There's no charge for going to the TPT, though in a very few extremely rare cases the tribunal can award costs to a council if it rejects your appeal and thinks you've made a "frivolous, vexatious or wholly unreasonable" appeal. But fighting your case beyond the stage of an informal appeal means you won't be able to pay the ticket at half-price, so you need to weigh up the risks – see Is it worth appealing? for full help.

Bus lane fines are up 25% in England

The data released by the TPT also shows that the number of PCNs issued to motorists for driving in bus lanes shot up between 2015/16 and 2016/17.

The number of fines in England rose by 24.8%, from 1,066,648 to 1,331,013. In Wales though there was a slight fall, from 95,363 to 92,751.

In 2016/17, there were 4,368 appeals against bus lane fines in England and 290 in Wales – the appeals success rate was 57% and 59% respectively.

What about private parking firms?

The data released by the TPT only focuses on PCNs, not tickets from private parking firms.

Some private firms have signed up to a trade body, either the British Parking Association (BPA) or the International Parking Community (IPC), which have appeals processes.

The most recent figures for the BPA's appeals service Popla show that there were 36,326 appeals ruled on between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017, and 52% of these cases resulted in cancelled parking charges. The IPC's Independent Appeals Service doesn't publish figures.

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