Drivers urged to challenge unfair traffic fines as councils make £326m in a year

Drivers urged to challenge unfair traffic fines as councils make £326m in a year
Drivers urged to challenge unfair traffic fines as councils make £326m in a year

Drivers have been urged to appeal against unfair parking fines after new figures showed councils issued Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) worth £326 million last year.

Figures obtained under a Freedom of Information request revealed that local authorities across the UK issued nine million PCN in 2018 for offences including parking, bus lane and box junction offences.

Half (51 per cent) of all fines were for parking offences, with 21 per cent issued for misusing bus lanes and 11 per cent for blocking yellow box junctions.

Yellow box junctions
Picture: Shutterstock

Successful appeals

At the same time, research found that most drivers who challenge a PCN saw their fine reduced or cancelled completely.

The study found 40 per cent of drivers who received a PCN had challenged it, with 74 per cent of those winning their appeal.

Read more: How to appeal a parking ticket

The figures have prompted Confused.com, which conducted the research, to urge drivers to consider whether they have grounds to appeal, and to launch a challenge checklist.

traffic warden
Half of all PCN issued last year were for parking offences, (Picture: Shutterstock)

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com said: “The fact that almost three quarters of PCN appeals were successful last year suggests that some fines are being issued unfairly.”

Among the 60 per cent of drivers who didn’t challenge many said it was confusion around whether they could or how they should appeal that put them off. More than half said that they would have appeal if the process was simpler.

Reasons for PCN

Reason           %
Parking offence           51
Bus lane offence           21
Box junction offence           11
Turning right at a no-turn junction           5
Other           12

“Challenging an unfair fine can be both complicated and daunting,” added Stretton. “The appeal process is confusing and needs to be made clearer.”

Although Manchester City Council issued the most PCN in 2018 – 598,060 – it was London’s borough councils which dominated the list of highest earners.

Westminster City Council made £16.5m from PCNs last year, followed by Hammersmith & Fulham (£13m) and Islington (£12.9m).

Most PCN issued

Authority Number of PCN
Manchester City Council  598,060
Westminster City Council 313,012
City of London Corporation 280,059
London Borough of Islington 255,833
London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham 238,615

Currently, only London councils, along with Cardiff council, are allowed to issue fines for moving traffic offences such as blocking box junctions, which may explain why they make so much money.

However, politicians have recently demanded that other authorities be given the same power to ease pressure on the police.

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