Driving advice Parking tickets: your rights

Parking ticket

Most parking ticket appeals are successful - so it's worth a try

There are more than 70 reasons why you could be given a parking ticket. Some of the most common include parking on yellow lines, parking in residents’ bays without a permit and not displaying a valid ticket in a pay and display area.

The good news is there are ways of appealing most kinds of ticket if it was given unfairly or mistakenly.

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How parking enforcement works

Depending on where you are, different organisations enforce parking rules and issue parking tickets, including local councils, the police, private companies or Transport for London.

If you do get a ticket, your rights vary depending on who issued it and whether you were parked on the street or in a car park.

On-street parking tickets are issued by either traffic wardens (employed by the police) or parking attendants (employed by the council).

In most parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and many urban areas of Scotland, on-street parking is enforced by council-employed parking attendants. They issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) through the civil justice system. 

This is called civil parking enforcement, and council parking attendants are often referred to as Civil Enforcement Officers.

Police traffic wardens enforce more serious parking rules, such as Priority or Red Route regulations. They issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) through the criminal justice system.

Parking tickets explained

If you're caught breaking parking or waiting rules in an area where decriminalised parking enforcement is in operation, you'll be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). 

PCN parking tickets are usually issued by being fixed to the windscreen of the car or handed to the person who appears to be in charge of it.

These parking tickets can also be issued by post in places where cameras catch cars breaking the rules, or when a civil enforcement officer is prevented by a motorist from issuing the parking ticket at the scene - perhaps by driving away.

You usually have 28 days to either pay the charge or challenge the PCN parking ticket. If you pay within 14 days (21 days for those caught on camera), the amount is generally reduced by 50%.

Download the free Which? parking guide PDF

Parking ticket tips

  • It’s worth appealing: most parking ticket appeals are successful.
  • If you think a parking ticket was unfairly issued, collect as much evidence at the scene (such as photos) as you can.
  • Once a ticket has been issued, the parking attendant or warden can’t reverse it – you’ll need to appeal.

More on this...

Other sections in this guide

  1. Overview
  2. Parking tickets: your rights
  3. Parking ticket enforcement
  4. How to contest a parking ticket
  5. Parking tickets: tips to avoid them
  6. Parking ticket appeal sample letters
  7. Parking tickets in Scotland and NI 
  8. Parking ticket FAQs