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Parking tickets issued by the local authority

This advice applies to Scotland

In many areas, parking on public land is managed by the local authority. Where it isn’t, the police are responsible instead. Parking tickets can be issued by either a local authority parking attendant, or by a police officer or traffic warden.

On private land, parking is often managed by private parking companies who issue their own parking tickets. The rules about issuing these tickets are different to the rules about tickets issued by local authorities or the police.

On this page, read about what you can expect if you get a parking ticket on public land, issued by the local authority.

If you park on a public road and don’t follow the parking restrictions, you could have to pay a parking fine. A parking fine is officially called a fixed penalty or a penalty charge. The rules about fixed penalties and penalty charges depend on the policy of the local authority where you parked.

Many local authorities are responsible for enforcing parking restrictions and employ parking attendants to do this.

If you don’t follow the parking rules, you may receive a penalty charge from a parking attendant which is a civil matter, not a criminal offence.

In some areas, it is the police and not the local authority who are responsible for enforcing parking restrictions. In these cases, if you don’t follow the parking rules, it is a criminal matter and you may receive a fixed penalty notice.

Receiving a penalty charge 

If you have parked your car illegally, a local authority parking attendant can give you a penalty charge. The parking attendant must give you the penalty charge or fix it to your car.

The penalty charge notice will say that you have 28 days to pay the charge.

If you accept you parked illegally, 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 parked illegally, you can appeal to the local authority. The penalty charge notice will tell you how to appeal and the time limits. You might want to appeal because:

  • you weren't the owner of the vehicle when it was wrongly parked. You'll have to provide proof of this, for example, a receipt and a copy of the DVLA registration form
  • the alleged illegally parking did not take place, for example, the meter time had not run out, your vehicle had broken down or you were legally loading or unloading your vehicle. Your evidence could include a photograph of the meter, a garage receipt or delivery note
  • the vehicle had been parked by someone without the consent of the owner; or
  • the place where the vehicle was parked was not properly designated as restricted parking.

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 penalty charge notice. If it rejects your appeal, it must send you a notice of rejection. You should also be sent details of how to make a further appeal to the Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland. For contact details of the Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland, see under How to appeal.

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

You can appeal to the Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland against a penalty charge notice issued anywhere in Scotland by a local authority that has rejected your appeal made directly to them.

Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland
10 Waterloo Place
Tel: 0131 221 0409
Fax: 0131 229 7189

Next steps

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