Penalty charge notices - making formal representations

If you objected to a parking fine and we did not cancel it you can make a formal representation after receiving the 'Notice to Owner' (NTO), which highlights what you may want us to reconsider.

To preserve impartiality, a different council officer will deal with your formal representation under our 'statutory duty' to consider all representations we receive.

Your representation must be made in writing in case they are required for evidence in an appeal.

You have 28 days to make a representation to us, telling us in writing why you feel that the PCN was incorrectly served. You can make your representations on the space provided on the NTO document and return it to us, or by letter, fax or email.

Postal times

Please note that if an NTO is posted first class the document is normally deemed to have been served on the second working day after the day of posting. For further details concerning the rules as to service by post - please see Regulation 3 of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007. We will not disregard representations received after the expiry of the time limit where evidence (for example a postmark) indicates that the representations were made within the 28 day period.

Legal grounds to make a representation

There are eight main legal grounds for making a representation:

  1. I was not the keeper of the vehicle at the time of the contravention - You must include a statement of the name and address of the person taking possession of the vehicle, or the person from whom the vehicle was acquired and the date of the transaction. Please also provide any supporting evidence such as a letter from your insurers setting out when they transferred cover to, or from, the vehicle, or copies of any documents such as an invoice or bill of sale.

  2. The parking contravention did not occur - This means that the PCN was issued incorrectly because no illegal parking took place. For example, you might believe that the Civil Enforcement Officer was wrong because you were loading or unloading at a time when it is allowed but the Civil Enforcement Officer did not see this or the signs/markings were not in position or had been damaged or were not visible, etc.

  3. The vehicle was taken without my consent - If the vehicle was stolen at the time of the issue of the PCN you will need to provide proof of this. This could be a Police Incident Number together with the name and telephone number of the police station that the theft was reported to.  This reason could also apply if someone without your knowledge was using the vehicle. You would need to explain why you believe this occurred.

  4. The Traffic Order was invalid - The Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) is a legal document a council is required to produce which lists all the locations in the city where parking restrictions apply and what those restrictions are. This applies if the TRO has been found to be defective because, for example, the PCN was issued at a location not covered by the TRO. You should explain why you believe that the Traffic Order is invalid.

  5. The vehicle is owned by a hire company and the hirer signed an agreement - If a copy of the vehicle hire agreement is sent, and it includes a statement of liability for PCN's occurring during the hire period, we would then take it up with the person named in the agreement by sending them an NTO.

  6. The penalty charge exceeded the legal amount that the council is allowed to charge - The government determines the amount we are able to charge for a PCN and so, if we were charging a different amount, the PCN would be invalid. It also applies if you believe your payment was made within the discount period but we ask for the full amount.

  7. There has been a procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority - The regulations define a procedural impropriety as a failure by the enforcment authority to observe any requirement imposed on it by the Traffic Management Act 2004 in relation to the imposition or recovery of a penalty charge. You should set out the statutory time limit or other procedural step with which you believe that the council has failed to comply if you are making representations on this ground.

  8. That the PCN has already been paid in full, or at the discounted rate within the discount period -  You will need to indicate the amount of your payment and how it was made and include a copy of any supporting documents such as a receipt or bank statement. The discount rate is 50% of the PCN and should have been paid not later than the last day of the period of 14 days beginning with the date on which the PCN was served.

Mitigating circumstances

There will be occasions where there are mitigating circumstances which are not covered by the legal grounds for making a representation. We will take all mitigating circumstances into consideration when reaching a decision your representation.

Under general principles of public law, we have a duty to act fairly and proportionately and are encouraged to exercise discretion sensibly and reasonably and with due regard to the public interest.

Reaching a decision

There is a legal requirement for us to reach decisions within a 56 day period beginning with the date that we receive your representations. 

If we fail to respond within the 56 day period the NTO and PCN will be cancelled.

Our aim is to reply to representations within 21 days but some cases may require further investigation. If this is the case, a letter acknowledging receipt of the representation will be sent.

We will let you know our decision as soon as possible with either a Notice of Acceptance or a Notice of Rejection.

Notice of acceptance

The notice of acceptance (NOA) cancels the NTO and provides an explanation why your fine has been cancelled.

Notice of rejection

The notice of rejection (NOR) will explain why your representation has been rejected and will address any points you raised. We'll send you an appeal form to enable you to appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal about our decision, if you want to.

Once you receive a NOR you have 28 days to:

  • pay the full amount of the penalty charge, or
  • make an appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal
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