Parking enforcement FAQs
What is a penalty charge notice?
Civil enforcement officers issue penalty charge notices (more commonly known as parking tickets) for vehicles parked in contravention of parking regulations. They require payment of a penalty but don't result in a criminal record or points on your licence. If you feel you've been unfairly penalised, you can appeal, in which case you may first wish to refer to our 'grounds for the cancellation of penalty charge notices' information.
Examples of where a penalty charge notice can be issued include:
- Not displaying your ticket/permit in a pay and display car park
- Overstaying the time period in a limited time area
- Parking on yellow lines outside the designated hours
- Parking in loading bays or during loading bans
- Not parking within marked bays
- Parking in a blue badge area without displaying a blue badge
What happens if I don't pay a fine?
Stage 1: notice to owner is issued
Payment of the penalty charge notice is the liability of the registered keeper of the vehicle. They'll receive a notice to owner if the charge remains unpaid after 28 days, and be given the option to pay the full amount or make a representation.
Stage 2: charge certificate
If the notice to owner isn't actioned by the registered keeper, a charge certificate will be issued after the statutory 28 days have elapsed (56 days from the initial penalty issue date). The original penalty charge payable at this stage will have been further increased by 50%.
Stage 3: registered debt and recovery by bailiffs
If the increased amount remains unpaid after a further 14 days, the amount will be registered with the Traffic Enforcement Centre at Northampton County Court as a debt. Reaching this stage will incur an additional charge of £5. Once the debt is registered, a further 21 days will be allowed for payment. A warrant of execution will be issued and discharged by certified bailiffs, who will take recovery action if the debt isn't paid within the statutory time limit.
The original penalty charge on the date of issue will have been £50 or £70 depending on whether or not the contravention is levied at the lower or higher level of penalty; by this time it will have increased to £80 and £110 respectively.
Why is the charge increased?
Early payment helps keep administration costs to the minimum. Equally, late payment increases the level of administration, so the amount due is increased.
Even if a penalty charge notice is subject to a warrant of execution, we'll only ever receive the £80 or £110 registered as a debt at the county court. Any bailiff costs attached to the amount in respect of recovering the debt is kept by the bailiff company.
Full details of the process are contained in our customer charter and procedures.
Can you remove illegally parked vehicles?
We have the power to remove vehicles that have contravened a decriminalised parking offence within a special parking area (SPA), under the Traffic Management Act 2004 as amended, and some historical cases under the Road Traffic Act 1991 and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. The removal contractor will work in conjunction with our civil enforcement officers (CEOs), and where necessary with the police.
What happens if my car is removed?
The vehicle will be taken to a secure compound. The police are informed as soon as this takes place, and will be able to give you details of how to contact the compound.
If you wish to collect your vehicle, you'll need to take certain documents with you:
- Proof of identification - UK driving licence, full birth certificate or P45 are among the list of acceptable documents
- Proof of vehicle ownership - the vehicle registration document showing the owner's name. This can be obtained at cost from the DVLA
- A valid and current driving licence for the person intending to drive the vehicle away from the compound. The owner may nominate another person to collect the vehicle
- A valid and current insurance certificate. A cancelled or withdrawn insurance certificate won't be accepted, and will be regarded as an intent to deceive, likely to result in the police being informed
If my car is removed, how much will it cost to get it back?
There will be costs which have been determined by the government:
- You'll be required to pay the penalty charge notice that was issued to the vehicle before its removal. The cost will depend on the type of contravention and whether or not recovery of the vehicle takes place within fourteen days of the PCN issue date
- There will be a £105 release fee
- There may be storage charges: £12 per day (starting midnight, the day after the date of the contravention)
- There may be a disposal charge of £50. This will be payable if the vehicle is not collected.
Can I appeal car removal charges?
Yes, but there are specific grounds on which to appeal:
- That the contravention didn't occur - you need to explain why the contravention leading up to the issue of the penalty charge notice didn't take place
- That the vehicle was parked by a person who was in control of it without the owner's consent - you'll need to provide evidence, eg a police crime number or insurance claim details
- That less than 15 minutes had elapsed after the end of paid time - please note that a PCN can be issued immediately but a vehicle can't be removed for 15 minutes after. This only applies to pay and display and limited-waiting areas
- That the penalty or other charge exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances of the case - you'll need to explain why you think the charges are too high
- That the relevant TRO was invalid - you'll need to explain why you think the traffic regulation order is legally defective
Details of how to appeal will be given to the person who collects the vehicle from the compound.
What is civil parking enforcement?
The Road Traffic Act 1991 introduced the concept of local authorities
undertaking enforcement of parking management schemes. This system was called decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE). Parking 'offences' became 'contraventions' and parking attendants employed by the relevant local authority, issued [civil] penalty charge notices (PCNs) where previously traffic wardens employed by the police undertook the enforcement and issued [criminal] fixed penalty notices (FPNs). This reflected the need for the police to concentrate on core policing priorities, with traffic wardens continuing to deal with moving traffic offences and the management of 'red routes'.
Starting in London, the system has been extended across the UK, and over 200 local authorities in all of our cities and major towns now operate DPE.
The Traffic Management Act 2004 calls this civil parking enforcement,
making the change from decriminalised parking enforcement and expands the range of contraventions that can be managed in this way. Legally speaking, parking attendants are now known as civil enforcement officers (CEOs).
Under the Traffic Management Act 2004, we're responsible for the enforcement of parking regulations on all highways and off-street car parks we own and/or regulate.
Enforcement is carried out by uniformed civil enforcement officers from the Shropshire Parking Service, and involves ensuring that vehicles are parked in accordance with parking regulations. The areas where parking regulations apply, and the type of restrictions in force, are indicated by a series of road markings and/or signs.
Do attendants have targets for the number of penalty charges they issue?
No, definitely not. Targets are only set for a minimum number of visits to specific locations and areas during the week.
What is the parking fine appeal process?
Stage 1 - informal challenge
On receipt of a written challenge the case is put on hold while we examine the challenge information provided. We examine every case individually, and if we accept your reasons we'll cancel the PCN and you won't have to pay anything. A challenge received within the discount period, ie 14 days of the date of issue, will be offered extended discount in the event that the challenge is rejected.
Stage 2 - formal representation
If your informal challenge is rejected you'll receive a 'notice of rejection of challenge' letter. You may decide that you disagree with this decision. If so, a further formal representation can be made to Shropshire Parking Service, but only when the registered keeper of the vehicle receives a notice to owner (NTO). This legal document will be sent out 28 days after either the penalty charge notice was issued or the date of the notice of rejection of challenge letter. The full penalty will be payable at this stage. A notice to owner is sent at this time irrespective of whether an informal challenge was initially made, and only if the PCN remains outstanding. The notice to owner is served on the registered keeper of the vehicle, irrespective of who may have been driving on the date of the contravention.
An appeals officer not involved in the earlier informal challenge stage will investigate the formal representation, and either a notice of acceptance or notice of rejection will be sent in response.
Stage 3 - appeal
If a formal representation is rejected you'll receive a notice of rejection of representation, which will explain the reasons for upholding the PCN. This document will also explain that a subsequent appeal may be submitted to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal for consideration by an independent adjudicator. The appellant may choose to have their appeal dealt with either by post, telephone or at a personal hearing. This part of the procedure will be fully explained in the notice of rejection of representation.
The adjudicator's ruling is final, and a motorist could face having to pay costs if their appeal was felt to be unreasonable. Costs may also be awarded against us if we're considered to have acted similarly.
For further general information about the enforcement process, please take a look at the PATROL website.
Why enforce parking?
Parking enforcement benefits all those who live in, work in, or visit Shropshire. It helps to ease traffic congestion in our market towns and reduce the level of dangerous and inconsiderate parking throughout the county. At the same time, enforcement helps to support local businesses in town and village centres, and improves road safety, particularly around schools.
Keeping roads clear of illegally parked vehicles means improved safety for all road users and enables delivery vehicles, buses and the emergency services to get to their destinations more speedily.
Civil enforcement officers are the eyes and ears of the council on the street, and can report highway faults such as potholes or faulty street lights, as well as reporting instances of fly-tipping and abandoned or vandalised vehicles.
What can you enforce?
We advise all motorists to observe the parking restrictions when parking their vehicle, for example: double yellow lines, loading bays, disabled bays and residents’ parking bays.
We're responsible for enforcing the parking restrictions that exist throughout our authority area.
Our civil enforcement officers are responsible for undertaking daily enforcement patrols across the district. They identify parking contraventions and issue penalty charge notices (commonly known as parking tickets). We're only able to issue penalty charge notices to vehicles parked in contravention of a traffic regulation order (TRO). TROs are legal documents that support restrictions, such as double yellow lines, loading bans, loading bays etc.
What can't you enforce?
We can't enforce the following matters unless there's an associated parking restriction:
- Vehicles parked on pavements - this is a police matter: please report the matter to the police on tel: 0300 333 3000
- Vehicles obstructing driveways - this is a police matter: please report the matter to the police on tel: 0300 333 3000
- Vehicles that are parked so as to obstruct visibility - this is a police matter: please report the matter to the police on tel: 0300 333 3000
- Abandoned vehicles – these should be reported to the Street Scene teams by calling 0345 678 9000
- Vehicle repairs being carried out on the highway - there is little that can be done about vehicle repairs being carried out on the highway, unless they are regular and repeated, are noisy or are being carried out as part of a business. If this is the case, please email the details of your concern to firstname.lastname@example.org
Where does the money go?
The income from penalty charges will be used to fund the cost of enforcement (the costs of the civil enforcement officers and the processing of the penalty charges). Any surplus will be invested to improve the transport network of the county such as:
- Improving road safety
- Investing in public transport
- Encouraging safe and sensible parking
- Promoting walking and cycling
Who is liable for paying a fine?
Payment of the penalty charge notice is the liability of the registered keeper of the vehicle.
What is a persistent evader?
A persistent offending vehicle is a vehicle with three or more unpaid and unchallenged penalty charge notices (PCNs), one of which has progressed to warrant stage or the owner or keeper details of the vehicle are not identifiable via the DVLA records, and all other legitimate means of enforcement have failed.
I had my blue badge displayed, so why did I received a penalty charge notice?
First of all, is the contravention on the PCN for not displaying your badge correctly? Could the civil enforcement officer read the expiry date, serial number and issuing authority?
The CEO is only doing their job by issuing a PCN if any of the badge details can't be read, as a blue badge displayed incorrectly is in contravention. However, unintentional mistakes can happen - write to us with a photocopy of your badge (back and front), or appeal online here, and we'll consider cancellation. The CEO will have taken a photo of the way in which your badge was displayed in the vehicle which will help us make a decision.
My vehicle broke down and I received a penalty charge notice. What can I do?
A civil enforcement officer may not be able tell that your vehicle has broken down. If you received a PCN in this circumstance, appeal your penalty charge notice and include a garage invoice or work sheet as proof that your vehicle required work.
I was loading or unloading goods and I received a Penalty Charge Notice. What can I do?
A Civil Enforcement Officer will observe a vehicle for a given time (this observation time is printed on the PCN) to establish whether it is being used for loading/unloading purposes. If no activity is seen around the vehicle during the observation period then a PCN will be issued. If you feel the CEO issued the PCN wrongly, you may appeal here.
A delivery note may be accepted as proof that loading/unloading was taking place. Loading/unloading should be a continuous activity involving heavy goods.
I had a medical emergency. Can I appeal?
If you received a Penalty Charge Notice as a result of a medical emergency, appeal your PCN here and include a letter from the hospital or doctor as proof.
What if the road signs were missing, obscured or broken?
Where it is claimed that a line(s) is worn away or has been covered by a highway repair, the waiting restrictions will be enforced between end stop markings where lines between them have less than a vehicle length missing. Where weather conditions (i.e. snow) have obscured the lines then each case will be looked at individually.
If it is confirmed that the claim is valid the PCN will be cancelled. Where the lines can be clearly seen, even though they may be partially worn, the PCN will be enforced.
Where can I find out more about road signs and markings?
There is guidance available on the gov.uk website which you might find helpful.