Parking Tickets (Penalty Charge Notices)
What you should do if you receive a penalty charge notice.
The Traffic Management Act 2004 sets out higher level and lower level parking contraventions. In West Berkshire the penalties for each level are:
Higher level parking contravention - Full value £70
Lower level parking contravention - Full value £50
Bus Lane Penalty Charge Notice - Full value £60.00
Higher level parking contravention - Discounted rate £35
Lower level parking contravention - Discounted rate £25
Bus Lane Penalty Charge Notice - Discounted rate £30
You can pay online, available 24 hours a day.
You can pay by post. Please send your payment to Parking Service, allowing 2 days for First Class post and 5 days for Second Class post. Cheques and postal orders must be made payable to "West Berkshire Council" and please write the Penalty Charge Notice number or your car registration number on the back of the cheque or postal order.
1. Appeals made within 14 days
When a penalty charge notice is issued the motorist must either pay or appeal. If the penalty charge notice is paid within 14 days there is a 50% discount. Where an appeal is made within 14 days (it is known at this stage as a "Challenge") and the appeal is allowed there is nothing to pay: if the appeal is rejected another 14 days is given to pay the penalty charge notice at the discounted rate. Please note that if you decide to appeal a bus lane penalty charge and your appeal is unsuccessful you will lose the provision to pay at the discount rate and the full value of £60 is payable.
To make an informal challenge please either:
- use our online Penalty Charge Notice (Parking Ticket) appeal form, or
- fill in and return a copy of the Penalty Charge Notice Appeal Form. Penalty Charge Notice Appeal Form [62kb] (60kb)
Alternatively, you may make a challenge by e-mail contacting the Parking Service. If you wish to submit documents in support of your appeal (e.g. a permit or a pay and display ticket) please send these under separate cover and it is always advisable to submit a copy of the original.
2. Appeals made after 28 days
When a penalty charge notice is unpaid after 28 days a Notice to Owner form is sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle (this information is given to the a notice to owner form Council by the DVLA) and this form must be completed and returned to make an appeal. If an appeal is made (it is known at this stage as a "Representation") and the appeal be allowed, there is nothing to pay.
If the appeal is refused the Council issues a Notice of Rejection of Representations and the penalty charge notice must be paid at full value or an appeal must be lodged with the parking adjudicator at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The Council will provide full details of this procedure with the documents and notices that are issued.
3. Appeals to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal
An appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal may be made in writing; by telephone; or by personal hearing. Should the Traffic Penalty Tribunal uphold the appeal, there is nothing to pay. When an appeal is refused the penalty charge notice must be paid at full value within 28 days.
The Parking Adjudicator can refer cases back to the Council if they conclude there were mitigating circumstances that have not been fully considered and they can ask the Council's Chief Executive to consider withdrawing the penalty charge notice.
They also consider cases where the authority has not followed the correct procedures. In all cases, the Adjudicator's decision is final. More details can be found on the website of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
In cases where a Notice to Owner form has been issued and the motorist does not appeal or pay the penalty charge notice, then 28 days after the Notice to Owner was issued the value of the unpaid penalty charge notice is increased by 50% and a Charge Certificate is issued.
Where a penalty charge notice remains unpaid 14 days after the Charge Certificate was issued, the Council registers the debt at a County Court known as the Traffic Enforcement Centre and a Notice of Debt Registration is issued. At this stage there are limited appeal rights and details will be set out in the documents issued.
Where a penalty charge notice remains unpaid or no appeal was lodged 21 days after the Notice of Debt Registration was issued, the Council applies for a warrant which will be passed to the council's appointed firm of bailiffs.
The bailiff adds fees to the amount to be collected for the unpaid penalty charge notice. Details of the limited appeal rights that may be used at this stage in the recovery process are set out in the documents issued.
We appreciate the stress that getting a penalty charge notice can bring, so never take a chance. Always ask us for help or advice first. Very few cases reach the stage where a warrant is issued and bailiffs become involved. At every stage in the process the onus will be on the motorist to act, either by paying or appealing.
The Traffic Management Act 2004 specifically prevents the elected members of all local authorities (including West Berkshire Council) from exercising any influence on the decisions made by the parking service when considering parking appeals.
The Civil Enforcement Officers carry a hand-held-computer-terminal to issue penalty charge notices. The software in the hand-held-computer prevents a penalty charge notice being issued until the required observation period for each particular parking contravention has elapsed.
In cases where an instant penalty charge notice can be issued the Civil Enforcement Officer must also enter eight pieces of information (such as the number plate, tax disc details and the location) before a ticket can be issued, ensuring that the civil enforcement officer has to be on the scene and directly adjacent to the vehicle in order to complete the penalty charge notice.
When the Civil Enforcement Officer issues a penalty charge notice, photographs of the alleged contravention may have been taken. These photographs will be used to consider the information presented in an appeal. However, the penalty charge notice will remain valid even if no photographs were taken.