Last updated:
16 October 2017

Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)

Charges for PCNs (parking tickets), how to pay them and what to do if you want to challenge one.

1 What are PCNs?

Parking fines (parking tickets) have now been replaced by Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs). 

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) has been adopted by West Sussex County Council. This means that:

  • the enforcement of parking restrictions has been transferred from criminal law (Sussex Police) to civil law (local authority)
  • parking restrictions are no longer enforced by Sussex Police traffic wardens but by civil enforcement officers employed by the local district or borough council
  • appeals are now heard by an independent Traffic Penalties Tribunal rather than the courts.

2 Charges

There are two levels of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) depending on the severity of the contravention:

  • £70.00 (reduced to £35.00 if paid within 14 days)
  • £50.00 (reduced to £25.00 if paid within 14 days)

Late payment increases the penalty charge 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 enforcement agents.

Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) are not allowed to accept payment or withdraw a PCN once it has been issued. They do not have quotas or targets for issuing PCNs; their job is simply to encourage drivers to obey the parking controls and issue a PCN if they believe that a contravention has taken place.

Money received through the issue of PCNs is used to pay for the costs of enforcement, administration and maintenance. Any surplus money is ring-fenced to be spent on local parking, transport and other environmental improvements.

3 Pay a PCN

All correspondence relating to a PCN should be directed to the district or borough council that issued it.

You can pay or appeal your PCN online, by phone, in person or by post through the issuing council.

All contact details are on the back of the PCN. Alternatively, you can select the relevant district or borough council from the links below.

4 Challenge a PCN

In order to do this you must write to the issuing district or borough council detailing:

  • why you feel the PCN was incorrectly issued
  • explain any mitigating circumstances you would like to be considered.

Details of how to make an appeal are outlined on the reverse of the PCN.

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

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) ensures that unresolved legal disputes between motorists and councils can be heard at a formal tribunal hearing. This body is completely independent of councils.

If you are not satisfied by the outcome of a representation you have made to a district or borough council you are entitled to make an appeal to the TPT. For further details on making a formal appeal, visit Traffic Penalty Tribunal's website.

Grounds for a formal appeal

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
  • you are a hire company and have supplied the hirer’s name and address.

In addition to the legal grounds for making formal appeals, councils are obliged to consider all mitigating circumstances presented to them. Guidelines have been established to assist Parking Services’ staff in this process.

5 Removing vehicles

We do not believe there is a need to routinely remove vehicles contravening parking restrictions. However, if a vehicle is considered a traffic safety hazard that endangers other road users other authorities may do so.

On the highway, vehicles may be removed by authorities such as:

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