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Challenge a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)

Find information about how to challenge your penalty charge notice and what happens afterwards.

If you think the penalty charge notice (PCN) you received was wrongly served and should not be paid, you can apply for it to be cancelled. The process you follow depends on what stage the PCN has reached.

If you wish to contest the PCN, do not pay for the PCN or pay for it while your challenge is being considered. If you make a payment, this is taken as you accepting liability for the PCN. Once payment is made, the case is closed and you will receive no reply to further correspondence.

How to challenge

All challenges against Penalty Charge Notices must be made in writing, either online or by post. You can use the links below to submit your challenge online. Please note, we are unable to consider challenges or make decisions on them either over the phone or in person, this must all be put in writing.

If a protected characteristic listed under the Equality Act 2010 or another condition makes it difficult for you to challenge or pay your Penalty Charge Notice, we will consider what reasonable adjustments we can make to assist you. Please visit the Barking Learning Centre, Dagenham Library or call 020 8215 3000 to let us know how we can help you.

Whilst we aim to respond to all correspondence as soon as possible, this can take up to 56 days in some instances.

Before you make a challenge

You should view the evidence we have online.

Step 1: informal challenge

This stage only applies to parking PCNs served on-street by a Civil Enforcement Officer and bus lane PCNs served by post.

You can do this within 14 days of the date of service of the PCN. The PCN will then be “frozen” until you’ve received our decision which can take up to 56 days.

Challenge a PCN beginning with BZ

Challenge a PCN beginning with BU

What happens next?

If your challenge is successful the PCN will be cancelled and no further action required. If your challenge is unsuccessful you can either:

  • pay at the discounted rate if challenge is made within the discount period
  • if you are not satisfied with the decision, you must wait until a notice to owner or (for a parking PCN) or an enforcement notice (for a bus lane PCN) has been received by the registered keeper of the vehicle. The registered keeper can then make formal representation (step 2)

Step 2: formal representation (applies to all PCNs)

This option is available to the registered keeper of a vehicle if they have received:

  • a notice to owner, relating to PCN issued by a civil enforcement officer
  • an enforcement notice, relating to bus lane contraventions
  • a PCN served by post for a parking or moving traffic contravention

Each of these documents lists the specific grounds on which representations can be made. An officer within the parking administration team will carefully consider the representations and reply to the registered keeper of a vehicle.

What happens next?

If the representation is successful, the PCN is cancelled, and no further action is taken. If the representation is unsuccessful, a formal notice of rejection is sent to the registered keeper. This includes payment instructions and a form allowing a further appeal to the independent adjudicator, should the registered keeper choose not to pay the full charge for the PCN within 28 days. 

It can take up to 56 days for us to respond to formal representations for PCNs served under Traffic Management Act (TMA) 2004 and the PCN will remain on hold until we issue our decision in writing.

For a PCN served by a camera for the following contraventions, your correspondence will be responded to as soon as possible as there is no statutory requirement for the Local Authority to respond within a specific time frame.

  • bus lanes
  • no entry restrictions
  • motor vehicle restriction zones
  • pedestrian zones in pursuant to the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 (as amended),  London Local Authorities 1996 and Transport for London Act 2003

Step 3: Appeal to independent adjudicator

If your formal representations have been rejected and you want to appeal further, you can ask an independent parking adjudicator from London Tribunals to set it aside. You should note the adjudicator can only legally consider appeals on specific grounds.

What happens next?

Once you have submitted your appeal to the adjudicator, a hearing date will be set and we have the opportunity to defend our decision to reject the formal representation. You can choose to receive the adjudicator’s decision by post or attend the hearing in person. The adjudicator’s decision is binding on both us and the person making the appeal.

If an appeal is unsuccessful, the full PCN charge is payable. If the PCN is not paid a charge certificate will be issued and there will be no further option to challenge the PCN.