Penalty Charge Notices (PCN)

Penalty Charge Enforcement Process

Stage 1 – Informal Challenge

The quickest way to challenge a penalty charge notice if you believe that it was issued incorrectly or that you have compelling grounds under which it should be cancelled, is to submit a challenge online. 

Using our online facility you will be able to:

  • View the details of the Penalty Charge Notice including any photographs that have been taken as supplementary evidence.
  • Submit a challenge or representations against the charge which will automatically be assigned to the relevant case for consideration.
  • Make Payment (please note that the balance will not be available until one working day after the PCN was issued).

To access information online in relation to a penalty charge notice, please click here

If your correspondence has been received within 14 days of receiving the PCN and the council rejects your challenge, you should be offered the chance to pay at the discounted rate. If payment is not received within the given time, the full charge will be reinstated.

Stage 2 – Formal Representations

When a penalty charge remains unpaid, after a period of 28 days the Council may apply to the DVLA to ascertain the registered keeper details in order to serve a Notice to Owner. The registered keeper is deemed to be the owner for the purpose of serving this document.

The Notice to Owner is sent to the person believed to be the owner, as it is the owner of the vehicle who is liable for any PCNs issued, irrespective of who the driver was. This is known as owner liability.

If you receive a Notice to Owner, you can make formal representations online by clicking here

The Notice to Owner details the statutory grounds on which a formal representation may be made. However, you may still make representations even if you don’t meet one of the statutory grounds stated. The Council will consider whether there are compelling grounds or mitigating circumstances under which the Penalty Charge Notice should be rescinded.

You must make your representations within 28 days of receiving the Notice to Owner and can be actioned online here, please state your case clearly and provide any information that is relevant.  Evidence supporting your claim - for example: receipts, photographs, or witness statements can be uploaded as part of an online representation.

The council will respond either accepting or rejecting your representations. Acceptance letters will be sent by email if an email address has been provided. However, if the Council decides that the charge should not be cancelled you will be sent a notice of rejection of representations. You will also be sent an appeal form which will enable you to appeal to the independent adjudicator should you wish to do so. These documents will always be sent by post to enable the Council to establish an appropriate service date.

Stage 3 – Appealing to the independent parking adjudicator

You can appeal to the independent parking adjudicator within 28 days from the date of service of the Notice of Rejections. The adjudicator will consider the appeal and make a decision which is binding on you and the Council.

You can complete and return the appeal form to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal at the address given, or you can submit your appeal on-line via its website at On-line help is available as you complete the appeal form.

Please note that you should not appeal on line and also send a Notice of Appeal concerning the same Penalty Charge Notice(s) by post.

Additional Stages

The Charge Certificate

The Charge Certificate applies a 50% increase to the penalty charge and requests payment within 14 days. There is no formal right of challenge at this stage. The Charge Certificate may be issued in the following circumstances:-

  • Where full payment or formal representations have not been received within the timescale specified on the Notice To Owner.
  •  Where formal representations have been rejected and an appeal has not been made to the Independent Adjudicator within the timescale specified on the Notice of Rejection.
  • Where the Independent Adjudicator has dismissed an appeal and the penalty charge has not been paid within the timescale specified on the Adjudicator’s Directions.

The Order for Recovery

If the Charge Certificate remains unpaid the Council may register the amount outstanding as a debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre at Northampton County Court. Following this process an Order for Recovery will be issued. The Order for Recovery will specify the date by which either payment must be made or a Witness Statement must be filed. A Witness Statement may be filed under the following grounds:-

  • I did not receive the Notice to Owner/penalty charge notice.
  • I made representations about the penalty charge to the enforcing authority concerned within 28 days of the service of the Notice to Owner, but did not receive a rejection notice.
  • I appealed against the local authority’s decision to reject my representation, within 28 days of service of the rejection notice, but have had no response to my appeal.
  •  The penalty charge has been paid in full.

The Enforcement Stage

If the directions on the Order for Recovery are not complied with the Council may request authority to issue a warrant. The warrant will be passed to Certificated Enforcement Agents for recovery. Certificated Enforcement Agents are entitled to claim costs for their actions in addition to the Council’s debt. These costs are prescribed by legislation. The compliance stage fee is £75 and this fee relates to the correspondence undertaken by the Agents prior to enforcement. The enforcement stage fee is £235 and this fee is applied to the warrant when an enforcement visit is made by the Agent.

If you have been contacted by an Enforcement Agent, please click on the Enforcement Agents tab above for further information.