Frequently Asked Questions 

If I return to my car whilst the ticket is being issued but drive off before it can be either handed to me or fixed to the vehicle am I still liable?

This depends on who it is issuing the ticket.

If it is a council parking attendant then, to be valid, the ticket must be either handed to the driver or fixed to the vehicle. If you subsequently get a Notice to Owner you should write to the issuing council, explaining the situation, and ask for it to be cancelled. If they will not cancel it then appeal. Although the adjudication services do not categorise types of appeal anecdotal evidence suggests that between a third and a half of all appeals are for this reason.

However, if you return to find a police officer or traffic warden in the process of issuing a ticket then, if you drive off, the ticket can be sent to you as they enforce under different legislation.

Aren't traffic wardens supposed to give 'a few minutes grace' before issuing a ticket?

Contrary to popular misconception, you are not - and never have been - permitted to stop for 'a few minutes' other than to set down or pick up passengers or load and unload goods (in the absence of any loading restrictions). A traffic warden or parking attendant may observe a vehicle for a few minutes to see if any such activity is going on before issuing a parking ticket, but there is an increasing trend to issue the ticket as soon as an illegally parked vehicle is seen. If you have been loading or unloading it is incumbent on the driver to produce evidence to that effect. (See Loading & Unloading.) There is no grace period.

Can single yellow lines apply after 6.30pm or on Sundays?

Yes! Single yellow lines can apply for anything between one and 23 hours per day and also on Sundays. Double yellow lines always mean 'at any time' and the need to have an accompanying sign was dropped in April 2003. Single yellow lines now apply for any restriction that is less than 'at any time' and it is essential that you check the signs. If the sign does not mention days of operation it means that the restriction applies seven days a week.

Do waiting restrictions (yellow lines) apply on Bank Holidays?

There is a motoring myth that Bank Holidays are the same as Sundays and that waiting restrictions do not apply. If the sign says 'Mondays - Saturdays' then that includes Bank Holiday Mondays. For Bank Holidays to be exempt the sign would also have to include 'Except Bank Holidays'

To avoid having to pay a ticket at the full price is it advisable to send a cheque for the discounted price with a challenge in case it is unsuccessful?

If you send a cheque with your challenge to the validity of a ticket it is almost certain that the council will bank the cheque and close the case. It is standard practice for councils to 'stop the clock' whilst they consider an initial representation. If they reject it they will almost invariably give you the opportunity to pay at the reduced rate provided that you do so within 14 days of their notification.

Are yellow lines legal if they don't have a T-bar (as above) where they end?

In accordance with the traffic engineer's bible - Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions - yellow lines must have a T-bar where they terminate or change from double to single or vice versa. If the T-bar is missing then the line is not legal and, therefore, not enforceable. T-bars are not required where a yellow line meets a parking bay or zebra crossing as bays and crossings effectively sit on top of the yellow line.

What happens if one arrives at a parking meter without change? Is time allowed to get some?

No! The regulations require that you put the money into the parking meter immediately after leaving your car.

What happens if one sticks a pay-and-display ticket on the windscreen and it falls, face down, on the dashboard before returning to the vehicle?

You will get a parking ticket! You are under an obligation to both "pay" and "display" - far safer to place the ticket, face up, on the dash board.

If I go to appeal and win can I claim costs?

Adjudicators can award costs to appellants or councils if either party acts "frivolously, vexaciously or wholly unreasonably". The award of costs is the exception rather than the rule. However, you should ask the adjudicator for costs if you think you have grounds

The question of the awarding of costs is addressed in Regulation 12 of The Road Traffic (Parking Adjudicators) (London) Regulations 1993.

“12. (1) The adjudicator shall not normally make an order awarding costs and expenses, but may, subject to paragraph (2) make such an order -

(a) against a party (including an appellant who has withdrawn his appeal or a local authority that has consented to an appeal being allowed) if he is of the opinion that that party has acted frivolously or vexatiously or that his conduct in making, pursuing or resisting an appeal was wholly unreasonable; or

(b) against the local authority, where it considers that the disputed decision was wholly unreasonable.

(2) An order shall not be made under paragraph (1) against a party unless that party has been given an opportunity of making representations against the making of the order.

(3) An order under paragraph (1) shall require the party against whom it is made to pay the other party a specified sum in respect of the costs and expenses incurred by that other party in connection with the proceedings.”

The crucial points are the interpretation of the words ‘frivolously’, ‘vexatiously’ and ‘wholly unreasonably.’ According to my Thesaurus synonyms for ‘frivolous’ include:- trivial, petty, trifling and unimportant. ‘Vexatious’ - troublesome, distressing, grievous, harsh. ‘Unreasonable’- inadequate, unfair, unjust, intolerable.

It would appear to me to be ‘wholly unreasonable’ if a council refused to cancel a PCN on a point of fact. For example, where evidence had been provided of loading/unloading taking place or where signs were either missing or inadequate.

Missing tickets

What should you do if a Notice to Owner (NtO) arrives for a parking ticket that you didn't know had been issued?

If you know that you had been illegally parked and the NtO arrived within a couple of months then I would recommend that you:-

i) respond admitting you were there at the time in question

ii) say that, had you received the ticket you would immediately have paid it at the reduced rate and that, in fairness the authority should give you the opportunity to pay it at the reduced rate.

iii) enclose a cheque for payment at the reduced rate

Although there is no guarantee that this will be accepted, human nature being what it is, most councils would rather have the reduced amount without any further argument than have the hassle of trying to get the other half from you.

However!

If several months have elapsed it is unreasonable for you to be expected to remember where you were at the time in question. Here I would recommend that you write back saying that you did not receive a parking ticket and that it is unreasonable for the council to pursue the matter.

Councils have a duty to act 'fairly'. It is generally accepted that an NtO should be sent no later than six months from the issue of the parking ticket. But even if it's three or four months it might be worth giving it a try.

I would be pleased to hear of anyone's success in getting either councils to drop cases, in such instances, less than six months after the date of the issue of the parking ticket, or adjudicators to uphold appeals against them.

Is it true that a parking ticket is not valid if it is issued by a parking attendant not wearing a hat?

The Department for Transport guidance circular 1/95 says “…when carrying out prescribed functions, and issuing a PCN is one such, [parking attendants] are subject to the Parking Attendants (Wearing of Uniforms) (London) regulations 1993.”

The National Parking Adjudication Service says that, in view of circular 1/95 PAs should wear hats during enforcement activity, but goes on to say that a PA not wearing headgear would not in itself be grounds for an appeal but could be considered as part of an appeal. The adjudicator would have to give it the importance he thought relevant to the case.

If colour of the vehicle is incorrectly recorded on a parking ticket is it valid?

PAs are required to make a note of a number of things, including the colour of the vehicle, all of which must be correctly recorded for the ticket to be valid. If the PA recorded that the vehicle as being white when, in fact, it was black there could be little argument that the information was incorrect and the ticket, therefore, invalid.

However, when does grey become silver become white? Or green become turquoise become blue? If such instances were taken to appeal an adjudicator may take the view that the colour was accurate enough for the ticket to be valid.

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