Are You Parked If Your Engine Is Still Running?

This blog serves to answer the question “Are You Parked If Your Engine Is Still Running?” Your vehicle is technically still occupying the parking spot and is parked inside the car park when you leave it there with its engine on but by definition it is incorrectly parked for the entire duration. You will be given a PCN once your vehicle is spotted with its engine on while parked and you have to pay it or challenge this within 28 days.

Are You Parked If Your Engine Is Still Running?

Your car park rules say that you need to turn off your engine while leaving it parked there and you must not leave it on in locations where this is prohibited. So you have to ensure that your engine is turned off when you leave it parked and it will not technically be parked if your engine is still running or on. You can say that you did not park your vehicle at the location at all if you left the engine running (where prohibited).

So if you did not park your vehicle properly, the main reason for your PCN will be not parking your vehicle properly and this error can only be rectified by remembering to turn your engine off. You cannot mention any mitigating circumstances for leaving your engine on simply because it can only be forgetfulness or a lack of knowledge of this enforced contravention at car parks. 

You therefore must contest the PCN by saying that the traffic violation didn’t occur (if that was actually the case) and attach a video clip showing how and why this is true. By making it a habit of filming your vehicle’s stays at car parks you can make sure that you always have evidence of your vehicle’s engine being turned off while it was parked.

In many cases, PCNs are not enforceable and you may be able to win your case and avoid having to pay your fine.

You could begin the process by speaking to an online solicitor for as little as £5.

How can I submit a challenge to a PCN for leaving my vehicle parked with its engine running, on the council website?

You need to access the online formal representation form on the council website by entering your PCN number and your Vehicle Registration Number. In some cases, you have to enter your PCN Number and your Contravention Code Number.

Some councils also require you to enter a Web Code mentioned on your Penalty Charge Notice to access your Penalty Charge Notice details.

You need to select a formal or informal representation option on the website depending on the kind of PCN you have received. An informal challenge is only required for a CCTV Bus Lane PCN or a Parking PCN served by a CEO which had to be delivered by post. 

So generally if your PCN has been sent by mail, you have to submit an informal representation on the council website or by email, before you can get a chance to register a formal representation. If you left the scene of the traffic violation without taking your Penalty Charge Notice or were charged by a CCTV camera, you need to register an informal representation first.

On some council websites, you have to select the contravention code (mentioned on your PCN) from a list of options and then choose an acceptable reason for your appeal from another list, Here it is important to understand that this reason that is being chosen will also be the same reason you will mention in your written formal representation and you have to provide authentic evidence material for proving the grounds of your appeal as well.

It is advisable to prepare the contents of your PCN challenge by typing it into a word processor first and eliminating any reasons which cannot be supported by available evidence material or which do not conform to the established grounds for challenging the relevant contravention code.

Once you have ensured that your explanation reinforces the evidence material you are going to upload with your formal representation, you can copy the text into the online formal representation form.

Evidence to use with your PCN challenge can be stored inside a folder on your computer by filming video clips of your road journeys in the council, which can be used to show how the traffic contravention never happened or help to explain your mitigating circumstances. 

Other evidence files in picture formats or pdf, or doc formats can also be saved in separate folders for easy access.

You have to remember that you cannot prove the grounds of your appeal to be credible without actually showing how (and if) the events you have explained actually took place.

You never know when you might be handed a PCN so it is essential to always be prepared with evidence from your vehicle’s journeys in the parking zones, road junctions, and highways in the council. 

It will be difficult for you to suddenly come up with evidence to use with a PCN challenge within 28 days and all this information would be lost unless you actively donate some time and effort into collecting and preserving evidence material.

Can I also challenge a Parking PCN served for leaving my engine on, by mail?

The second method for challenging your PCN which is available in most councils is by using the postal service. You can write your formal representation on the last page of your Notice to Owner document or in a printed downloadable form (in some cases) and send it by mail to the council’s address.

You must remember to attach evidence material with your letter in this case as it is an essential component of your formal representation. Photographs from the traffic violation scene filmed by a passenger travelling with you can be placed inside a small transparent file or stapled to your Notice to Owner Document. 

You can mention a checklist of your evidence material at the end of your PCN challenge to ensure that no item escapes the attention of the parking officer judging your case. Another important point to remember when sending in your PCN challenge by mail is that first-class mail takes 1 to 2 days to deliver your formal representation to the council and second-class mail takes between 3 to 5 days. So you need to send in your appeal by the 22nd day after receiving your PCN, at the latest.

This formal representation can also first be typed into a word processing software such as MS word to remove any unclear sentences or reasons which display a lack of awareness of the contravention code, as all such grounds for a PCN challenge will be rejected. 

You can write down the same sentences on paper once you have matched the text of your formal representation with your available evidence material and clearly explained the cause-and-effect relationship between any mitigating circumstances which led to the traffic violation. It is best to mention that you never breached the no entry zone and attach authentic evidence clearly showing your vehicle turning in the correct direction to avoid the zone.

It is hard to justify any mitigating circumstances for entering a buses and bicycles only lane, given that there is also a sign in place clearly mentioning this as a restricted area for vehicles. As you can only send in your PCN challenge once, it is best to mention your strongest reasons to get the PCN cancelled.

Can I send my appeal further to the London Tribunals if I get a Notice of Rejection from my local council?

Yes, certainly that can be done in London, when you are served with a PCN which when appealed against with your councils gets rejected. The appeal which gets rejected gets a Notice of Rejection served by the local council to you. This Notice of Rejection can be sent directly to the London Tribunals.

If you have received a PCN from a council of a local London Authority or from Transport for London, you can dispute your Notice of Rejection of Representations (from the Council) with the London Tribunals. Your Notice of Rejection of Representations has a form attached to it that needs to be completed. and posted to the London Tribunals. 

What you will write on the form will be the text of your appeal to the Notice of Rejection served by your council and needs to be carefully composed by mentioning your mitigating circumstances which led to the traffic violation or by stating how you think the traffic restriction was never breached. With a parking PCN the following actions cannot be permitted under most mitigating circumstances.

The contents of your appeal to the London Tribunals need to be based on evidence material as the London Tribunals is rejudging a case decided by your local council and will be provided by strong evidence from them to contest the trial.

Regardless of whichever council (local London Authority)you have recieved a parking traffic PCN from, you need to send the completed form to the following address (and ensure that you allow up to 2 days for first class mail to deliver your challenge and up to 5 days for second class mail) :

London Tribunals,

PO Box 10598,



If you would prefer a quicker way to send in your challenge to the London Tribunals you can visit the London Tribunals Website. You can also choose to dispute the “Notice of Rejection” from your council with the London Tribunals online by clicking on the “Access the Appellants Portal” button on this webpage. 

All you will be required to do is simply enter your Vehicle Registration Number, PCN number, and the reference number or code from your “Notice of Rejection of Representations” letter. 

Evidence to be uploaded here can be different from the evidence material you have used to support the formal representation sent to your local council but the evidence needs to be properly matched with the case you have argued in your appeal to the London Tribunals. 

For your PCN, you need to clearly show the London Tribunals that you did not breach the parking contravention related to the no ticket on your windscreen violation (you actually had it there on your windscreen). Solid evidence relating to your traffic violation needs to be ready to send to the London Tribunals which refutes the case put forward by your council.

 The London Tribunals is an independent adjudicating authority and it impartially considers the case put forward by your council and your version of the events at the traffic violation scene. So if you have some crucial evidence that shows something new which escaped the knowledge of the council or the CCTV camera monitoring the traffic violation scene, the London Tribunals will consider these details to be true.

Do I have to present evidence with my PCN challenge to the council and also to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal for proving how long i spent in the car park with my engine on?

Yes, you are expected to back their PCN challenge to the council and to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (or the London Tribunals) with proper evidence which clearly shows their point of view of the situation and clears them from the allegations in the traffic violation. You are supposed to create a PCN challenge that is plausible and backed by sufficient evidence to show their point of view of the situation before putting it in front of the council or the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

A parking PCN served from a local authority outside London can further be disputed with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal is responsible for addressing challenges to Notices of Rejections of Representations from councils in England (outside London) and in Wales.

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal website requires you to enter details given on your Notice of Rejection of Representations, after opening this webpage. Once you have entered these details, you can click on “Next” to access the Traffic Penalty Tribunal PCN challenge portal. 

Before you can access this challenge portal, you need to click on “Start Your Appeal Here” on this webpage and “Submit and Appeal To The Traffic Penalty Tribunal Now” on this webpage. If you access the Traffic Penalty Tribunal’s main webpage, you need to first select the kind of PCN for which you have received a Notice of Rejection from your council. 

In this case, your Penalty Charge Notice is of the Parking type. After this, you will be redirected to the webpage where you have to select England (outside London). Once you click on England (outside London), you will be led to this webpage where you need to click on “Submit Your Appeal To The Traffic Penalty Tribunal Now”

You can watch this instructional video here to learn about your challenge process.  The Traffic Penalty Tribunal requires you to create an email address unless you already have one to dispute your council’s Notice of Rejection of Representations on its website.

It is important for you to submit your challenge on the Traffic Penalty Tribunal Website within 28 days of being sent your Notice of Rejection to your Parking PCN. As a Parking Enforcement Officer, you need to show that you did not park your vehicle illegally and actually did follow the contraventions while parking your vehicle at the location, so that the Traffic Penalty Tribunal can also judge you fairly and give you a successful response.


This blog post addressed the question “Are you parked if your engine is still running?” You are not technically parked if your engine is still running. The bigger problem is the PCN which you will get for leaving your vehicle parked with its engine running, as you cannot give a reason for challenging this PCN.