This blog serves to answer the question “How Can I Challenge A Clean Air Zone PCN?” A Clean Air Zone serves to lower engine emissions in the area by charging vehicles which fail to meet the standard emission levels. It is quite difficult to challenge a Clean Air Zone PCN unless your vehicle actually didn’t breach the zone, as authentic evidence to support any other kind of reason is difficult to find.

How Can I Challenge A Clean Air Zone PCN?

A Clean Air Zone PCN from Bath and North East Somerset Council and Portsmouth City Council can be challenged both by sending in a written formal representation or by filling in the online formal representation form on the council website. A Birmingham City Clean Air Zone PCN can only be challenged on the council website.

Before thinking of how to submit your Clean Air Zone PCN Challenge, you must gather authentic evidence material to support your formal representation. Your PCN challenge will be rejected by your council unless it has credible evidence to prove your point of view. A Clean Air Zone PCN is backed by CCTV camera evidence from the council which shows your vehicle travelling through the zone, so you need to come up with contrary evidence which proves that you never breached the zone or had paid your PCN by 12 pm on the 6th day after the incident.

You need to preferably submit your PCN challenge within 14 days so that, if your appeal is rejected, you will only end up paying £60. You need to know that you are automatically eligible for a National Exemption from paying Clean Air Zone charges if any of the following conditions apply:

  • If you are using a vehicle that is ultra low emission
  • If you are using a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle or Adaptable Vehicle designed for disabled persons.
  • If you are driving a vehicle that is fitted with technology certified by the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme.
  • If you are using a military vehicle

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. 

What is a Clean Air Zone PCN?

A Clean Air Zone PCN is a Penalty Charge Notice issued for failing to pay Clean Air Zone charges on time, and it only applies to vehicles that fail to meet the Euro 6 (emission) standard for diesel vehicles and the Euro 4 standard for petrol vehicles. Such vehicles are witnessed passing through the Clean Air Zone by a CCTV camera and the vehicle registration number is noted so that the registered keeper of the vehicle has to pay Clean Air Zone charges by 12 pm on the 6th day after the Clean Air Zone violation. At the end of the 6th day a PCN is issued to the registered keeper of the vehicle, which must be paid or challenged within 28 days,

The registered keeper is also responsible for making the formal representation to the council. A Clean Air Zone PCN fine is £120 in Birmingham City Council, Portsmouth City Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council.

There are 4 classes of Clean Air Zones ranging from A to D.

What is a procedure for challenging a Clean Air Zone PCN in each of the 4 councils?

The four councils that issue Clean Air Zone PCNs are Bath and North East Somerset Council, Portsmouth City Council, Birmingham City Council and Bradford City Council.

How Can I Challenge A Clean Air Zone PCN in the Bath and Northeast Somerset Council?

You can challenge your Bath and North East Somerset Clean Air Zone PCN by visiting the council website. You need to open this webpage to enter your Notice Number, Vehicle Registration Number and a Web Code (mentioned on your Penalty Charge Notice). After clicking on “Continue”, you can view your Clean Air Zone PCN details and access the online formal representation form. 

Here also as with a regular PCN challenge you have to upload evidence to support the grounds for your appeal, which can be in the form of video footage, photographs or scanned copies of your medical certificates (to justify your mitigating circumstances). As you are challenging a Clean Air Zone PCN, the only main reason for your appeal can be that you had already paid the charges on time.

Another way to challenge your Bath and North East Somerset Council Clean Air Zone PCN is by mail. You need to write a formal representation on the back side of your Notice to Owner document and send it in to this address:

Bath Clean Air Zone,

Bath and North East Somerset Council,

PO Box 5475,

Bath,

BA1 0AH

You can attach evidence material with this PCN challenge by stapling it with your Notice to Owner or by using a transparent folder to be placed inside your envelope. The postal challenge needs to reach the Bath and North East Somerset Council within 28 days, and preferably before 14 days, so that you will only have to pay £60 if your PCN challenge fails.

How Can I Challenge A Clean Air Zone PCN from Portsmouth City Council?

A Clean Air Zone PCN served in Portsmouth City Council can be challenged on the council website, You need to open this webpage and click on Online on our “Parking Tickets Portal” under the heading “If You Disagree With Our Penalty Charge Notice”. On this page, you can enter your Penalty Charge Notice Number and your Vehicle Registration Number. Once you have entered these details, you can click on “Continue” to access the online formal representation form. 

You need to upload authentic evidence material with your PCN challenge to prove that you had already paid your Clean Air Zone charge or that your vehicle never breached or violated the clean air zone at the given date and time on your Penalty Charge Notice. If you can clearly prove either of these cases, by using proper evidence material, your PCN will be cancelled by the Portsmouth City Council.

Another method of sending in your formal representation to the Portsmouth City Council is by mail, you can write the contents of your Clean Air Zone PCN challenge on the back side of your Notice to Owner and attach at least one evidence document with it. Your written PCN challenge and any evidence documents need to be properly arranged and enclosed in and envelope to be mailed to the Portsmouth City Council on this address:

Parking Service,

Civic Offices,

Guildhall Square,

Portsmouth PO1 2NE

How Can I Challenge A Birmingham Clean Air Zone PCN?

A Clean Air Zone PCN from the Birmingham City Council can only be challenged on the council website, the way a Parking, Bus Lane or Moving Traffic PCN is challenged.You need to login to view your PCN details here. Once you have opened the next window, you can choose to enter a formal representation to your Clean Air Zone PCN.

The evidence attached with your Clean Air Zone PCN challenge is the most important component of your formal representation so you need to carefully select this piece of evidence from any documents relating to the Clean Air Zone violation. It needs to be correctly matched with the text of your PCN challenge to convince the Birmingham City Council that your Clean Air Zone PCN was served in error.

Clean Air Zone PCNs can be successfully challenged but you need to be aware of the restriction in place in your council if you live in Bath and North East Somerset Council, Birmingham City Council or Portsmouth City Council.

Clean Air Zones will soon be enforced in Greater Manchester, Sheffield (starting from early 2023), Bristol (beginning from late next month 28th November) and Tyneside (late 2022 to early 2023).

What happens if I fail to pay my Clean Air Zone PCN within 28 days?

If you neither pay your Clean Air Zone PCN within 28 days nor decide to appeal against it, you will be sent a charge certificate from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The charge certificate increases your PCN fine by 50%, which means you will be paying £180 now. You should pay the charge certificate within 14 days as it cannot be appealed. Ignoring the charge certificate may result in the filing of a court order (for recovery of debts) against you by the Birmingham City Council.

You will be sent a “Notice of Debt Registration” and a witness certificate from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal if you don’t pay the charge certificate amount within 14 days. The unpaid amount will be treated as a debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre at the Northampton County Court.

The court order for debt recovery enforces that the charge certificate amount must be paid in full within 21 days the county court will have to use additional powers to recover the money from your possession which means employing Enforcement Agents to (contact you or) visit your personal premises.

Can I further dispute a Clean Air Zone PCN with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal if the Council dismisses my Appeal?

Yes, the Notice of Rejection of Representations to a Clean Air Zone PCN from the council can be disputed with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. On the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website you need to click on “Clean Air Zones” and select the council you reside in. The options for Sheffield, Greater Manchester and Bristol councils will be available soon.

On the next page you need to click on “Submit an Appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal Now” and on this webpage you have to click on “Start Your Appeal Here”, You will then be required to enter your Vehicle Registration Number, the reference number (Appeal Code) from the “Notice of Rejection” letter from your Council, and your PCN number for which the appeal was rejected. Once you have entered these details, you can click on next to view your Traffic Penalty Tribunal challenge form.

You need to upload credible evidence along with your Clean Air Zone PCN challenge to convince the Traffic Penalty Tribunal that you were wrongly charged with the offense. You could either contest your Notice of Rejection by stating that you did not breach the Clean Air Zone in the council for which you can attach video footage of your vehicle from the date and time of the Penalty Charge Notice, or by mentioning that you had already paid the Clean Air Zone charges on time.

Your appeal of the “Notice of Rejection of Representations” should be submitted to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal within 28 days of receiving your Notification of Rejection from your local Council.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “How Can I Challenge A Clean Air Zone PCN?” You need to be sure of whether you have actually paid your Clean Air Zone Charges on time or your vehicle clearly fails to comply with the acceptable emission standards before you write down your Clean Air Zone PCN challenge. The focus of this appeal to your council has to be on facts which need to be backed by authentic evidence material to show that your vehicle did not commit the alleged contravention or that you have already paid your Clean Air Zone PCN within the 6 day time limit.