Penalty charge notices (parking fines)

This section gives you information and advice on how to pay or appeal a penalty charge notice (PCN).

This section gives you information and advice on how to pay or appeal a penalty charge notice (PCN).

  • Online  - you will need your PCN number, vehicle registration and debit/credit card details.
  • Phone - call 0345 600 6400 - Monday to Friday, 8.30am-6pm - and have your PCN number, vehicle registration and debit/credit card details handy.
  • In person – at one of our customer information centres using a debit/credit card, cash or cheque  (Please note Bedlington customer information centre does not accept cash payments).
  • By post – send your remittance slip and a cheque made payable to 'Northumberland County Council' to Parking Services, Northumberland County Council, County Hall, Morpeth, Northumberland, NE61 2EF.
You have 28 days to pay, and your fine will be reduced by 50% if you pay inside 14 days. If you’re considering appealing.

You can view the photographic evidence which shows why you have received a PCN here
Stage one – notice to owner
We’ll send you a ‘notice to owner’ to ensure the penalty charge notice was received and to remind you it is now due to be paid in full. It also gives you the opportunity to formally challenge your PCN.

Stage two – charge certificate
If you don’t pay within 28 days of the notice to owner, we’ll send a charge certificate confirming the fine has increased by 50%.

Stage three - order for recovery
If payment is outstanding 14 days after the charge certificate is served, an ‘order for recovery’ will be sent and we pass your debt to an enforcement agent, sometimes known as a bailiff. At this stage you can no longer speak directly to the council about the penalty charge notice. You must deal directly with your debt enforcement agent.

Informal representation
An ‘informal representation’ – is what we call a challenge made any time up to receiving a ‘notice to owner’.

We carefully consider all evidence and write to you with the outcome, explaining our decision. The penalty charge notice will be frozen from the day we receive your challenge until we reply. If you challenged within the 14 days, we’ll offer a further 14 days to pay the charge at the reduced rate.

If your informal representation is rejected and you want to challenge it further, you need to wait until you receive a ‘notice to owner’ and make a ‘formal representation’.

Formal representation
A formal representation form is included with your notice to owner. Complete the form, quoting your penalty charge notice number on all correspondence, and: After you have made a formal representation you will receive either:
  • notice of acceptance – explaining that your PCN has been cancelled
  • notice of rejection – explaining that you need to pay the PCN at the full rate or make an appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal

If you don’t pay the penalty charge or appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal before the end of the period outlined on the notice, we’ll send a charge certificate confirming that the fee has increased by 50%. You can’t appeal any further at this stage.

If you’re appealing because you have a valid permit, blue badge or pay and display ticket, include a photocopy with your appeal. Here are some other reasons that may give you grounds for an appeal:
  • You can prove the alleged offence didn’t occur.
  • You have never owned the vehicle in question.
  • You were not the owner of the vehicle on the date the offence occurred. If you bought or sold the vehicle, you must give the new or former owner’s name and address if you have it. Also provide the date of the transaction and any other details, and include any documents such as an invoice or bill of sale.
  • The offence occurred while your vehicle was being used by someone else without your consent. Provide any supporting material you may have e.g. crime reference or insurance claim reference.
  • The order was invalid as 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. 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 the 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 14-day early payment period. 
Why did I receive a PCN?
PCNs are issued when we believe you haven't followed the parking rules. 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 explaining these terms.

Do you give people a grace period when they park?

Vehicles committing parking offences that cause danger to others can be issued with a fine instantly. 

Other parking offences have a mandatory observation period before a fine can be issued, this means a CEO must stay near to the vehicle for a set period of time to make sure that an offence is actually being committed.

Some parking offences 
such as 'Overstay' have a mandatory 'grace period' of 10 minutes before the CEO can issue a fine, and this is different from the observation periodThe grace period is only relevant when a vehicle has been parked legally, and then becomes illegally parked, such as for overstaying a time limit, or an expired P&D ticket or clock/disc. 


How much do I have to pay?
The cost varies depending on the seriousness of the offence:

  • high - £70 e.g. parking on double yellow lines

  • low - £50 e.g. not displaying a pay and display ticket

Both fines will be reduced by 50% if paid within 14 days.

Can you explain what the different terms in the PCN process mean?
Full details of the terms used in the PCN process are in our glossary of terms.

Can I have more information on the process?
Full details of how to challenge and what happens to a PCN are explained in the attached guide.
A guide to the Penalty Charge Notice appeals process

Where can I find more information & advice?