Northumberland County Council > Parking > Penalty Charge Notices (Parkin

Penalty Charge Notices (Parking Fines)

also known as: Appeals, Fines, Parking fine.

Information & advice on how to pay or appeal a Penalty Charge Notice (parking fine).

Pay your Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)

5Pay a PCN online here

Please note:

There are four ways you can pay your PCN (parking fine):

  • Online: Pay you PCN online here (you will need your PCN number, vehicle registration and debit/credit card details).
  • Phone: 0345 600 6400 Monday to Friday 8.30am-5pm (you need your PCN number, vehicle registration and debit/credit card details).
  • In person – at one of our Customer Information Centres using a debit/credit card, cash or cheque.
  • By post - post your remittance slip and and a cheque (made payable to 'Northumberland County Council') to Parking Services, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF.

Why did I receive a PCN?

If you have received a PCN it is because we believe you have broken a parking restriction. When you use any on or off-street parking place you accept the terms and conditions of use. There are notices on the pay and display machines and conditions of use boards explain these terms.

If a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) finds that a motorist has failed to comply with any of the regulations they can issue a fine (Penalty Charge Notice).

View all of the current NCC Traffic Regulation Orders for waiting, loading and parking here.


Do you give people a grace period when they park?

Some of the parking offences we enforce have an observation period (grace period) before we issue a fine, but the ones that cause danger to other road users or pedestrians are instantly issued with a fine.

View the full list of contraventions (parking offences) and observation periods (grace period) here.

How much do I have to pay?

There are two charge levels depending on the seriousness of the violation:

  • Higher level-£70 e.g. parking on double yellow lines.
  • Lower level-£50 e.g. not displaying a pay and display ticket.

Both rates of penalty charge will be reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days.

What if I do not agree with the decision to issue a PCN?

You can appeal against a Penalty Charge Notice. Find out more about appeals here.

What happens if I don’t pay within 28 days?

Stage One – Notice to Owner

We will send you a Notice to Owner (NtO) to ensure that the PCN was received and to remind you that it is now due to be paid in full. It also gives you the opportunity to make a formal representation (appeal) against the PCN.

Stage Two – charge certificate

If you do not pay within 28 days of receipt of an NtO, we will send a charge certificate. This will notify you that the payment required has increased by 50% (£105 for a higher level contravention and £75 for a lower level contravention).

The charge certificate may be sent:

  • following receipt of a Notice to Owner letter from the council (unless you submit a formal representation)
  • following receipt of a Notice of Rejection of Representation
  • following notification from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal that your appeal against a Notice of Rejection has been rejected

Stage Three - order of recovery

If payment remains outstanding 14 days after the charge certificate is served, we will register the charge as a debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC). This allows us to recover this increased charge as if it were payable under a county court order.

At this stage, an order of recovery will be sent – and we will pass your debt to an Enforcement Agent (Bailiff).

Can you explain the PCN process and what the different terms mean?

There are a number of notices/documents that are issued throughout the stages of a PCN being progressed. Find more information on what each one of them means in our glossary of terms here.

Where can I find more information & advice?

The Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside of London (PATROL) website provides information on civil parking and enforcement and offers general advice on what to do if you receive a PCN in addition to explaining what the different stages involve.

We are a member of the Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL) Adjudication Joint Committee. The committee publishes an annual statement of accounts which is subject to external audit. You can find the arrangements for current and previous years on their website.


Vehicle owners can appeal against decisions to issue them with PCNs.

There are two types of appeal:

  • informal representation (this can be made any time up to receiving a Notice to Owner)
  • formal representations (you can only make this after receiving a Notice to Owner)
5Appeal online here (informal representations only)

You can submit an informal representation by one of the following methods:

What you need to know before you submit an informal representation:

An informal representation can be made any time before a Notice to Owner (NtO) is served. It must be made in writing and clearly state the reasons why you are appealing.

The PCN will be frozen from the day we receive your appeal until you know the outcome. Therefore, if you make an informal representation within the 14 day discount period your charge will be frozen at this rate until you have received the outcome of your appeal.

If you are appealing because you have a valid permit, Blue Badge or pay and display ticket, please include a photocopy with your appeal.

After you have submitted an informal representation:

When we receive your informal representation, we will carefully consider all the relevant facts and evidence.

You will receive written notification of the outcome and the reasons why the decision has been reached. We will also tell you what you need to do next (if necessary).

If you made your representation within the 14 day discount period we will re-offer a further 14 days to pay the charge at the discounted rate.

If you want to make a further representation (a formal representation) you need to wait until you receive a Notice to Owner.

You can make a formal representation when you have received a Notice to Owner (NtO).

Using the form sent with your NtO you can submit a formal representation by:

Please quote the PCN number on all correspondence (this can be found on the front of the NtO).

The grounds for making a formal representation:

  • The alleged contravention didn’t occur.
  • You have never owned the vehicle in question.
  • You were not the owner of the vehicle on the date the contravention occurred. (If you bought or sold the vehicle, you must give the new or former owners name and address if you have it). Please also provide the date of the transaction and any other details, and include any documents such as an invoice or bill of sale.
  • The contravention occurred whilst the vehicle was under the control of someone without the owner's consent. (Please provide any supporting material you may have e.g. crime reference or insurance claim reference).
  • The Order was invalid i.e. the Council did not comply with the statutory requirements when making the Order. (Please explain why you believe the Order in question is invalid).
  • The vehicle is owned by a vehicle-hire firm and the vehicle was on hire to someone under a formal hiring agreement. (You will have to supply a copy of the hire agreement clearly showing the name and address of the person hiring the vehicle. This agreement must contain a statement of liability signed by the hirer and acknowledging the hirer's liability for payment of penalty charges.)
  • The penalty charge exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances of the case.
  • There has been a procedural impropriety on the part of the council.
  • The penalty charge notice has already been paid in full or has been paid at the reduced amount within the specified period.

After you have made a formal representation:

We will carefully consider all the relevant facts and evidence.

We will then either issue a:

  • Notice of Acceptance – explaining that your PCN has been cancelled OR
  • Notice of Rejection – explaining that you need to pay the PCN at the full rate or make an appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT)

If you do not pay the penalty charge or make representations before the end of the period specified on the Notice, we will send a Charge Certificate notifying the owner that the charge has increased by 50 %. There is no further right to appeal to us at this stage.

Recovering unpaid PCNs

NCC is committed to collecting outstanding debts so if a PCN remains unpaid after the charge certificate has been served we will register the charge as a debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC), which allows us to recover the payment by passing the debt to an Enforcement Agent (Bailiff).

An Order for Recovery of the penalty will be sent and we will issue a warrant to an enforcement agent to recover both the sum outstanding and their costs for executing the warrant by collecting money or removing goods to the value of the debt.

Once the debt has been passed to an enforcement agent to collect you can no longer speak directly to the council about the PCN, you must deal directly with them. How to do this will be explained in the correspondance served to you by the enforcement agent.

If you need any general help and advice about debt please click here

How not to get a Penalty Charge Notice

Nobody wants to be issued with a PCN – so our message is simple - follow the rules and only park where you are allowed.

Our handy guide - How NOT to get a PCN can be used as a reference for parking regulations and Highway Code information. This guide is also available in libraries and information centres.