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Penalty Charge Notice - frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Below is a list of common reasons given during Penalty Charge Notice appeals.

Common questions

Click the links to find out more information.


Single yellow lines only operate Monday to Friday

Fiction - Single yellow lines operate for the hours shown on signs by the line, or for the hours of the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) which they are in. This means they can operate on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

The yellow line I parked on had no sign with its times by it, that must be wrong

Fiction - No it is not always wrong. Yellow lines within a CPZ do not require time plates showing the hours of restriction if their hours of restriction are the same as the CPZs hours. Also since January 2003, double yellow lines which are restricted 24 hours a day, every day of the year do not legally require any time plate saying this.

In all other cases a yellow line should be accompanied with its time of restriction, if this is not the case please email

Writing to the Council to appeal against the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice will extend the period given to pay the discount sum.

Fiction - Not always. Written correspondence received during the discount period will hold the discount if a full investigation is required. Requests for the stills from a CCTV recorded contravention may not hold the case. You should take note of any acknowledgement you get from the Council as this will tell you what will happen with your case.

I only stopped for a minute or so, you are allowed 5 minutes I am told.

Fiction - Wrong. You are not allowed any time at all unless the reason you have stopped is a permitted reason. For example you cannot simply stop on a yellow line to 'pop' into a shop, withdraw cash or similar, you should find a legal parking place for this. Civil Enforcement Officers will observe a vehicle to determine if the vehicle has stopped for a permitted reason, but as soon as it is obvious this is not the case a Penalty Charge Notice may be issued.

My car broke down so I'm not liable for the Penalty Charge Notice.

Fiction - When driving it is your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy and will not break down.

'Foreseeable' problems such as running out of petrol/water/oil/brake fluid, or problems that have been happening for a while, (for example, not being able to start the vehicle, are no excuse and so you will still be liable for the Penalty Charge Notice).

Emergency problems such as flat tires, collisions or the engine falling out can, at the Council's discretion, be accepted as valid reasons for cancelling your Penalty Charge Notice.

If you break down you should notify the Council as soon as possible to avoid the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice. Call the enforcement line on 020 8744 0462 so that you can be given a temporary parking dispensation. This will notify any Civil Enforcement Officers who see your vehicle that it should not be issued a Penalty Charge Notice.

In all situations the please ensure you remove the vehicle, if illegally parked, within 24 hours. Failure to do so will render you liable for any Penalty Charge Notice issued.

I only left my car parked without displaying a Pay and Display ticket because I went for change to put in the machine.

Fiction- Unfortunately, as soon as you leave your vehicle unattended other than to go to the Pay and Display machine, you are deemed to have parked. The Civil Enforcement Officer has no knowledge of where you have gone and so going to get change cannot be accepted as an excuse for cancelling a Penalty Charge Notice.

I didn't know there were any restrictions where I parked as I couldn't see them/I am new to the area and didn't know about them.

Fiction - When you park, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are doing so legally. If road markings are obscured due to snow or leaves on the ground, then you should look for signs detailing what restrictions are in place. Similarly, if you are new to the area then you should look around at the signs and lines to see where you can and cannot park.

There is a grace period on Pay and Display tickets and Vouchers.

Fiction - No. As soon as the pay and display ticket or voucher runs out then it is no longer valid and you are in effect parking illegally.

Fiction - I keep forgetting to change the clock on my disabled badge - surely I'm not liable for a Penalty Charge Notice for that?

Fact - It is a condition of the usage of your disabled badge that the clock should be set every time you use it and leave your car. That way the Civil Enforcement Officer knows that you are parked legally and when you will return.

Not setting the clock prevents the Civil Enforcement Officer from knowing when you will be back and so they must assume that you have parked for longer than the allowed time and will issue a Penalty Charge Notice.

It doesn't matter if my Pay and Display ticket or Voucher falls down out of sight - I've paid so I can't be liable?

Fiction - If the pay and display ticket or voucher is not visible or readable, then it is being used outside of the conditions of use and is invalid. It is your responsibility to ensure that it is clearly visible at all times to Civil Enforcement Officers.

If I throw the Penalty Charge Notice away, you can't find me so that's the end of it!

Fiction - All Councils have the legal right to use the information held by the DVLA (Driving Vehicle and Licensing Agency) to pursue penalty charges.

If you don't pay, the registered keeper of the vehicle becomes liable (even if it isn't you) and the Council will use the process provided in law to recover the charge. Visit unpaid PCNs to find out how this might affect you.

I only got a ticket because your Civil Enforcement Officers are on commission and they want to earn money from me.

Fiction - Civil Enforcement Officers working on behalf of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames NEVER receive benefits, be they financial or otherwise, from issuing more Penalty Charge Notices.

A Civil Enforcement Officer issuing one Penalty Charge Notice a day earns no more or less than one issuing thirty.

It's OK to park on the pavement when necessary.

Fiction - There is a London-wide footway parking ban in place which prevents parking on pavements, other than in specially marked bays which will be properly signposted. This is mainly to keep pavements clear for pedestrians and to prevent damage.

As the ban is London wide, it is not signed and as a driver you should be aware of it as you can get a Penalty Charge Notice for it anywhere within the Borough.

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Updated: 28 October 2022

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