Charge notices for driving offences issued by the local authority
Some local authorities are responsible for enforcing bus lane restrictions and use cameras to do this. In these cases, if you don’t follow the bus lane rules, you may receive a charge notice from the local authority which is a civil matter, not a criminal offence. Not all local authorities have these enforcement powers and in some areas the police will issue a fixed penalty notice for this driving offence.
Receiving a charge notice
If you have used a bus lane illegally, your local authority can give you a charge notice.
The charge notice will say that you have 28 days to pay the charge. The local authority may offer to reduce the charge if you pay within 14 days. You will find more details about charge notices on your local authority’s website.
If you accept you committed the offence, you can pay the amount they ask for. The notice will tell you how and when to pay.
If you don’t agree that you committed the offence, you can make an appeal to the local authority, usually within 28 days of receiving the notice. The charge notice will tell you how to appeal and the time limits. You might want to appeal because for example:
- you weren't the owner of the vehicle when it was wrongly driven in the bus lane. You'll have to provide proof of this, for example, a receipt and a copy of the DVLA registration form
- the alleged offence did not take place, for example, the restrictions were not in force at the time that you drove in the bus lane
- the vehicle was being driven by someone else without your consent.
The local authority must consider your case and tell you whether it accepts or rejects your appeal. If it accepts your appeal, it will cancel your charge notice. If it rejects your appeal, it must send you a notice of rejection. You will also be sent details of how to make a further appeal to the Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland. For contact details see under How to appeal against a local authority decision.
If you don't appeal and you don't pay, you'll be sent a 'notice to owner', reminding you to pay. If you don't pay within the correct period of time, you'll be sent a charge certificate and the amount you must pay will be increased by a further 50%. You will have to pay the local authority, but you won't have committed a criminal offence.
If you don't pay within the correct time period, the local authority can register the debt with the court without a court hearing, and recover the charge using sheriff officers.
How to appeal against a local authority decision
You can appeal within 28 days of receiving the notice of rejection. You have to appeal to the Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland against a charge notice issued anywhere in Scotland by a local authority that has rejected the appeal you made directly to them.
Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland
10 Waterloo Place
Tel: 0131 221 0409
Fax: 0131 229 7189