Car Parking in the UK is a situation that cannot be avoided and it can often be a hassle. To help you get a better deal on your parking, avoid pricey fines and to aid you in resolving any parking disputes you may have, we have compiled a useful guide to parking.
Where You Can Park
Firstly, there are areas with no lines or no signs and these, often hard to find areas, are safe to park at any time. Just make sure you don’t park across a driveway or entrance or block anyone else’s access.
There are then areas such as parking bays, often marked with a dashed white line on the road and usually accompanied by a sign to inform you of time limits. These areas can be free of charge, for short periods, such as 20 minutes or 1 hour and in these cases there will usually be a restriction on returning to the space within an hour or two.
These areas may also require you to buy and display a ticket. If so there will be a machine close by and the sign will state any restrictions. Make sure you park within the bays and display the ticket clearly.
You will see double red lines mainly in large cities replacing double yellow lines on certain routes. They are usually in places where it would be hazardous to stop. They mean no stopping at any time, not even to drop off or pick up passengers.
Double Yellow Lines
Double yellow lines on the road mean that you cannot park in that area at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There may be a sign accompanying the lines stating ‘at any time’ but as of the end of January 03 this is no longer a requirement so you should assume, sign or no sign that you cannot ever park on double yellow lines. Unlike on double red lines, loading may be permitted on some double yellow lines.
Single Yellow Lines
Single yellow lines also represent restricted parking areas, but for only certain times of the day. There should be a sign accompanying the lined area stating the specific restricted period. This is commonly during peak hours, so parking in the evening or the weekend, may be allowed. There may other exceptions in place, such as for blue badge holders and for loading only.
Controlled Parking Zones (CPZ)
These are areas where Traffic Regulation Orders (Traffic Management Orders in London) restrict parking in certain areas with restrictions specified by signs placed on all vehicular entry. With exceptions of designated parking bays or other signed areas. If single yellow lines are in these areas, then the restrictions will usually be the same time as the zone, unless an accompanying sign shows different times.
Loading and unloading of heavy goods for both commercial and non-commercial vehicles are usually allowed on a yellow line as long as the vehicle is parked safely and is moved to a permitted parking space once the loading is completed.
There are sometimes restrictions for loading which are often marked by yellow lines on the curb. There will usually be a sign to show whether it is no loading at any time or whether loading is permitted during certain hours. When loading restrictions are in place, blue badge holders are not permitted to park.
In some residential areas you will require a residential parking permit, you can obtain a residential parking permit from the local council.
Only residents of the local area will be able to obtain a residential parking permit and it will only be valid for the area you live in, if you do not hold a permit and you park in a residential restricted zone then you will be liable for a fine.
If you do hold a residential permit, then you can also apply for a visitor parking permit which will allow any guests you may have park safely.
If you are disabled and hold a disabled parking permit then you are eligible to park in any bays or streets where it says disabled parking.
If however you do not hold a disabled parking permit you are liable for a fine! If you feel you may be eligible for a disabled parking permit which is also known as a blue badge then you should visit the direct gov website where you can apply for a disabled badge.
If you park in a restricted area then you are more than likely to receive a parking fine or worse still, have your vehicle towed away. Parking fines can vary but usually start at about £30 or £40. You have to pay a fine within a certain time frame and if you exceed this then the parking fine is likely to increase. Non payment of parking fines could result in you eventually being summoned to court so it is worth paying up as quickly as possible. There should be instructions on how to pay on the ticket itself, but if you are unsure then contact the issuer. If you do not escape only with a ticket and your car is towed then you will receive more of a hefty bill, usually over £100 and will have to go to the car pound to pay up and retrieve your vehicle.
Reasonable grounds for appealing parking fines
Before appealing any parking fine you should make sure you have grounds for your case, if you do decide to appeal because you believe that you should not pay the fine you should be aware that if you pay your fine within 14 days the price of the fine is halved but if you appeal this is likely to take over 14 days so you must be sure before you appeal or it could cost you money
You were not the owner of the car
If you were not the owner of the car or if someone else was driving your car you will be able to appeal against the parking fine. However you will need to provide all of the contact details for the new owner or the person that was driving your car If your car was stolen you will need to provide a crime reference number when you appeal.
The signs were not visibly clear
If the signs we not visibly clear or something was covering the signs then you may have a case for an appeal. By law and for any fine to stand the council must provide signs on each road in areas where parking is restricted. However the council do not need to put up multiple signs along the road it is up to you to check for a sign or keep an eye out when you enter a road BUT if the parking is restricted on a single road the council have to put up signs on every lamppost or if the lamposts are more the 60m apart they have to put in a signpost. If it is found that there were clear visible signs and your appeal is not genuine then you will have probably gone over the 14 day period and would have to pay 50% more so before you lodge an appeal you should go back and check the road where you parked if possible.
The lines were broken or there was not a T at the end
The council have to maintain road markings and make sure all road markings are put on the road correctly. If at the end of double and single yellow lines they are not cut off with a T-Bar then you have a reason for an appeal or if there are any breaks in the line markings.
You are a car hire company and were not driving the car
If you are a car hire company and one of your rented cars have received a parking ticket then the parking ticket will come to your office. It is then up to you to provide the details of the person that was driving (had possession of the car) at that time.
You were unloading or loading your car on a single yellow line
If you were unloading or loading your car on a double yellow line then you will still have to pay the fine since you are not allowed to stop on these at any point unless otherwise stated. If however you are loading or unloading your car on a single yellow line you are able to do so for up to 20 minutes unless otherwise stated. If you are parking in a private car park like a supermarket car park then they will not be regulated by the law but instead upon entering their car park you agree to a contract between you and the owner of the car park, the rules for private car parks depend on the owner.
Information was left of the ticket
If the ticket you received has information missing then you could be eligible to have the ticket marked void. If your ticket is missing any of the following then you should be eligible:
- The amount you have to pay
- A statement indicating that if the fine is paid within 14 days you will get a discount of a specified amount
- An address or contact number of where you should pay the fine
- The reason why you got the ticket in the first place
- A notice specifying how long you have to pay the fine (usually 28 days)
They took too long to send confirmation of the ticket
If you do not pay your fine within 14 days then a notice should get sent to the owner, if the notice does not arrive within 6 months then you will have a reasonable case for an appeal.
What to do next
If you believe that you have been given a ticket or towed unfairly, then you can lodge an appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. For more information or to appeal online see the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website.