Parking enforcement policy

Waiting restrictions are introduced following a procedure involving consultation with interested parties such as residents, business holders, the emergency services, the passenger transport executive and finally, approval by elected members of the council.

The reasons for their introduction are manifold but are usually for the purposes of minimising traffic congestion, which can in turn, reduce pollution from idling vehicles. They may also be introduced to aid road safety by improving site lines at junctions, for example.

Some restrictions are introduced for limited periods of the day and may include times when loading operations are not permitted, for example during peak periods, again to aid traffic flows.

Other restrictions apply at all times but usually permit drivers to undertake such functions as loading/unloading or allowing passengers to board or alight or take part in other activities where the use of a vehicle is necessary.

The benefits of these restrictions are not always appreciated by some motorists who do not comply with them and their actions sometimes result in the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice by a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO).

It is normal procedure in Salford for contraventions of the regulations to be enforced when observed but it is accepted that there may be good reasons why a vehicle was parked on a restriction, which may not have been apparent to the CEO at the time.

It is for this reason that there are avenues of appeal but generally, if you feel the Penalty Charge Notice has been wrongly issued you can appeal - or what's called 'make a challenge'. Should this challenge be rejected and the penalty remain unpaid, a Notice to Owner (NtO) form will be issued that will provide a further opportunity to make representations to the council. Should these representations be rejected, an appeal may then be made to an independent body, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

Representations should be made not later than the last day of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the NtO is served and any representations which are made outside that period may be disregarded. However, should late representations be made, although not obliged to, the council may consider them if there are good reasons for their late submission.

The matters considered by council officers before any decision is made in relation to a challenge or representations are as follows.

  • Does it appear that a contravention has been committed?
  • Has the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) been issued correctly? (eg handed to the person appearing to be the driver or affixed to the vehicle or in some cases sent by post)
  • Has the PCN been completed correctly (eg correct contravention code used, vehicle details etc.)
  • Is the Traffic Regulation Order valid? (this is the legal instrument for introducing the restriction)
  • Is the signing and lining correct on the road? (Are the yellow lines of sufficient quality? Are there any signs missing? Please note, there is now no requirement for signs where double yellow lines are present.)
  • Was the vehicle exempt from the restriction (eg loading/unloading taking place where permitted; used for building operations, removals etc)
  • Was the vehicle exempt in respect of the Blue Badge scheme? (disabled motorists)
  • Was the vehicle broken down or made immobile due to unforeseen circumstances?
  • Are there any mitigating circumstances or compassionate grounds to justify cancellation of the PCN?

This list is not exhaustive and there can be many reasons to take into account when considering challenges or representations.

Each case is different and is considered individually, the council always having the option to exercise discretion as to whether or not cancellation of a PCN is appropriate, taking into account the severity of the contravention, fairness and proportionality.

However, it has to be stated that where there is evidence that a contravention has been committed and there do not appear to be grounds to cancel a PCN, the council will require payment of the relevant penalty and if necessary present a case to any subsequent appeal hearing.

Subsequent non-payment of enforceable penalties may ultimately result in the issue of warrants, which are referred to independent bailiff companies for execution and recovery of payment or seizure of goods.

This is of course a last resort and such action can result in bailiff charges escalating costs considerably. It is obviously not in the best interests of the motorist to allow matters to progress to that stage but it is quite often the case that warrants are issued because no action has been taken following receipt of a PCN and subsequent letters or notices have been ignored.

To avoid this situation, it is necessary to take some form of action following the receipt of a PCN, which would be;

  • pay the penalty, or if you believe you have grounds,
  • challenge it supplying supportive evidence as appropriate or,
  • respond to a Notice to Owner and any subsequent correspondence

But it is not an option to ignore it, the problem will not go away and the council will pursue outstanding penalties.

To avoid receiving a PCN, it is advisable to always comply with road markings/traffic signs and relevant conditions for use of car parks.

Further advice may be found within the Highway Code.

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