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Civil parking enforcement


Civil parking enforcement (CPE)

Changes in the law meant that councils could apply to central government to take over the enforcement of most on-street parking controls from the police.

This 'decriminalisation' of parking enforcement has been adopted by the county council as CPE . Under CPE, parking enforcement has transferred from criminal law (Sussex Police) to civil law (local authority).

The West Sussex Parking Enforcement Practice Note is an operational statement that provides a clear framework for effective parking management activities throughout West Sussex.

Parking enforcement throughout the county is the responsibility primarily of the County Council. To achieve effective implementation of the Integrated Parking Strategy, the powers for on-street parking enforcement are delegated to the district and borough councils acting as our agent, thereby enabling the integration of the responsibilities for both on-street and off-street areas.

Previously, the government received the majority of money generated through Fixed Penalty Notices issued by the police. Under CPE , the County Council, in partnership with the district and borough councils, will collect these charges and use them to pay for the costs of enforcement; using any surplus money for the benefit of transport, parking and other environmental improvements within the districts or boroughs.

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What are the objectives?

The three key objectives of civil parking enforcement in West Sussex are to:

  • provide a single integrated parking service, combining on-street and off-street management and enforcement that will be accessible, at a local level within the districts and boroughs.
  • provide the effective enforcement of parking controls.
  • be self-financing with any surpluses arising from the enforcement regime used to improve parking facilities and approved transport and environmental improvement, within the district or borough in which the surplus is accrued.

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What are the benefits?

The benefits of civil parking enforcement are as follows:

  • CPE will provide a greater focus on enforcement than the police had previously been able to provide. This will mean clearer, safer roads and pavements.
  • The new arrangements will deliver improvements for congestion, road safety, the economy and the environment.
  • The charges for parking illegally will no longer be paid to central government. Any surplus revenue, after administration costs, will be re-invested into local transport and environmental improvements.
  • Town centre on-street parking for short term use will be made more available through higher turnover.
  • Illegal parking on yellow lines will be reduced by up to a half.
  • All road users will benefit - pedestrians, cyclists, buses and bus passengers, freight vehicles, emergency services and motorists.
  • An increased uniformed presence will contribute towards community safety and help to reduce other vehicle crime, for example, car tax evasion and unregistered vehicles.
  • Abuse of disabled bays and residents’ bays will be reduced, freeing them up for those who are legitimately entitled to use them.
  • Car parking issues can be more easily linked to council transportation policies, enabling both the district, borough and county councils to respond to changes in local parking requirements.
  • It will provide integrated on-street and off-street parking management at a local level.

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What are the penalties?

The district and borough councils’ Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) issue:

  • Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) -for most non-endorsable parking contraventions.
  • Fixed Penalty Charge Notices (FPNs)
  • Excess Charge Notices (ECNs) - if they observe a contravention of the regulations (incorrect parking).

There are two levels of penalty charges depending on the severity of the contravention. The higher band is £70.00 (reduced to £35.00 if paid within 14 days) and the lower band is £50.00 (reduced to £25.00 if paid within 14 days).

If you pay late, the penalty charge increases to £105.00 (higher band) and £75.00 (lower band). This may be more if the borough or district council has to pursue the debt through the use of bailiffs.

CEOs will not be allowed to accept payment and are under strict instructions that, once a PCN has been issued, it cannot be withdrawn.

CEOs do not have quotas or targets for issuing PCNs; their job is simply to get drivers to obey the parking control measures and to issue a PCN if they believe that a contravention has taken place.

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Will vehicles be removed?

We do not believe that there is a recognised need to routinely undertake removal of vehicles contravening the parking restrictions in the early stages of the new parking enforcement scheme.

However, the councils may, in the future, decide to invoke its statutory powers to remove vehicles that are in contravention of parking regulations where it is considered a traffic safety hazard exists which endangers other road users.

On the highway, vehicles may be removed by:

On private land, vehicles can be clamped or towed by the land owner or their contractor.

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Appealing against a PCN

If you think you haven’t broken the rules, or that there was a valid justification for doing so (such as mitigating circumstances), you are entitled to make a representation to the district or borough council that issued the PCN . In order to make a representation against a PCN, you are required to write to the issuing council detailing why you feel that the PCN was incorrectly issued, or detailing any mitigating circumstances that you would like to be considered.

Once the district or borough council receives your representation, it will acknowledge it in writing within a specified period and give you a full reply in writing.

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) has been set up to ensure that unresolved legal disputes between the motorist and the councils can be heard at a formal tribunal hearing. This body is completely independent of the council. If you are not satisfied by the outcome of a representation that you have made to the district or borough council that issued the PCN , you are entitled to make an appeal to TPT .

PATROL is a public information website on the overall civil enforcement process, set up to provide the motorist with step-by-step information on civil parking and bus lane enforcement from the issue of a PCN to the bailiff stage.

The grounds for a formal appeal against a PCN are:

  • the alleged parking contravention did not occur;
  • the penalty charge, (or release or storage charge), exceeded the relevant amount;
  • the Traffic Regulation Order was invalid;
  • you were not the owner of the vehicle when the alleged contravention occurred;
  • when the vehicle was parked, it had been taken without your consent, and; 
  • you are a hire company and have supplied the hirer’s name and address.

For further details on making a formal appeal, visit Traffic Penalty Tribunal's web site.

In addition to the legal grounds for making formal appeals, the councils operating CPE are obliged to consider all mitigating circumstances presented to them. Guidelines have been established to assist Parking Services’ staff in this process. These guidelines provide a consistent framework for reaching decisions across the county, whilst allowing each individual circumstance to be considered on its own merits.

Details of how to make an appeal are outlined on the reverse of the PCN and further details can be found from the 'Pay or challenge your parking ticket online' page.

Note: Once a PCN has been issued, it cannot be cancelled by a Civil Enforcement Officer, so please do not ask. Threatening behaviour, verbal or physical abuse towards CEO s will not be tolerated, and will be reported to the police. Instead, please make a representation to the issuing council who will consider the circumstances of the PCN s issue.

Supporting documents


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