Parking FAQs

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Who sets the level of parking penalties in London?

Parking penalties in London are set by London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee (TEC). TEC is made up of representatives of the 33 local authorities in London, as well as TfL, and meets four times a year. Under the terms of the Traffic Management Act 2004, TEC is responsible, subject to agreement by the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State, for setting additional parking charges on London borough roads. These charges include:

  • penalty levels for contraventions of parking regulations
  • penalty levels for moving traffic contraventions on borough roads (e.g. bus lanes, yellow boxes etc)
  • charges for release from wheel clamps
  • charges for removal of vehicles
  • storage charges
  • disposal charges

TfL has similar responsibilities for setting additional parking charges on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN), which it exercises with the approval of the Mayor of London and the agreement of the Secretary of State, following consultation with the London local authorities.

What is the decision-making process?

London Councils officers will run a consultation to gather the views of the public and other stakeholders. We present the results of the consultation to the Committee, who then decide whether any changes are required. The chair of the Committee then writes to the Mayor of London to propose the changes. If he is in agreement, he writes to the Secretary of State for Transport to outline the proposals.

The Secretary of State then has up to 28 days to decide on the proposals. If he objects, which he may do only on the grounds of the charges being unreasonable, he must do so within 28 days. If he says nothing, he is deemed to have had no objections and the proposals are approved.

Once agreed, the boroughs must advertise the changes with three weeks’ notice before they come into effect. This typically takes a minimum of six months from the first day of the consultation to the day the changes are implemented, assuming there are no objections.

How often are charges reviewed?

Charges are reviewed every four years.

Why are some parking charges set at different levels?

There are two factors which affect the level of penalty a motorist receives: the location of the contravention, and its severity. A PCN in London will therefore be at one of four levels – these are shown here.

In areas where demand for parking is higher, the amount of the charge is higher to act as an increased disincentive. These areas are known as Band A. Band B covers areas where demand for parking is lower.

Similarly, more serious offences (‘higher rate’) incur a higher level of penalty; again, this serves as an extra disincentive to park in contravention. Less serious offences (‘lower rate’) attract a lower level of penalty. This system is known as differential parking charges.

How do I know if I’m in ‘Band A’ or ‘Band B’?

Broadly speaking, Band A refers to central and inner London, and the town centres of some outer London Boroughs. Band B refers to all other areas. This is illustrated at the map which can be found here.

Band A covers all of the City of London, Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, Camden, Islington, Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets. It also covers the north of Wandsworth, Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham, the south of Waltham Forest, and the West of Greenwich and Barking and Dagenham. It also covers the town centres of a number of outer London boroughs.

What contraventions do you consider to be more serious than others?

More serious contraventions generally include those which cause an obstruction to other road users, including pedestrians on the pavement (e.g. parking on a single or double-yellow line), or which are dangerous (e.g. parking on a pedestrian crossing or on zigzag lines).

Less serious contraventions generally involve parking somewhere where it’s safe to do so, but that you either don’t have permission or haven’t paid to do so. This includes parking in a bay without having paid, or overstaying after your paid-for time has expired.

Contraventions involving residents’ parking bays are considered to be more serious and so attract penalties at the higher rate. Although it is safe to stop in them, residents’ bays are subject to extremely high demand. The higher level of penalty reflects this demand and the wishes of residents to park in close proximity to their homes.

Who do I complain to about the level of parking penalties in London?

There is no mechanism to appeal against the general principle of the level of parking penalties in London. If you are a London resident, you should discuss your concerns with your local councillor.

Responses from members of the public will be encouraged when we next consult on the levels of parking penalty in London.

Is there a helpline I can call to find out where to park my car?

There is no helpline to give advice on parking. Websites like Parkopedia and Appy Parking may be useful.

Where does the money from parking fines go?

According to DfT guidance:

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) is a means of achieving transport policy objectives. For good governance, enforcement authorities need to forecast revenue and expenditure in advance. But raising revenue should not be an objective of CPE, nor should authorities set targets for revenue or the number of Penalty Charge Notices they issue.

Any income from PCNs will first be used to cover the cost of providing the parking enforcement operation. This will include paying Civil Enforcement Officers, back office support staff and administration. If any money is left over after all these costs have been covered, Section 55 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 defines how any surplus must be spent. This includes the provision of public transport services, highway maintenance and improvements, and environmental projects. In many cases, London boroughs use any surplus they make to offset the cost of providing the Freedom Pass and Taxicard.

How many parking tickets are appealed?

Just one per cent of ALL the PCNs issued in London result in an appeal being lodged to the independent adjudicators at London Tribunals.

What is London Councils’ role?

London Councils is the representative body of the 33 Local Authorities in London. We also provide a series of direct services on behalf of the boroughs, including London Tribunals. We are not able to comment on individual cases, nor do we have any power to influence the decision-making process at London Tribunals.

London Councils does not collect or collate the amount of money collected in penalties by the boroughs.