This blog serves to answer the question “How Can I Challenge A National Car Parks PCN?” National Car Parks is the oldest car park operator in the UK with the largest number of parking sites, 500 car parks (with over 150,000 parking spots). This blog states the 12 parking contravention codes enforced in National Car Parks parking sites, which you need to memorise and attempt to preserve evidence relating to these contraventions (for challenging a PCN) accordingly.

How Can I Challenge A National Car Parks PCN?

You need to understand that National Car Parks enforces parking contraventions in its car parks in much the same way as your local council and you are just as liable for getting a PCN in their parking zones and being penalised for violating these restrictions as you are in a council run car park. The only difference is that National Car Parks directly serve its private clients, who use its services to manage their parking spaces efficiently and effectively. But National Car Parks also ensures that drivers using its car parks are not unfairly charged with PCNs and have an effective system for appealing against one.

The overall goal of improving efficiency in its car parks is achieved by ensuring transparency to all visitors of a National Car Park. These visitors often also use some services such as shopping, health care or universities while leaving their vehicle parked in the National Car Park, so they would like to remember having a pleasant experience as far as their car park stopover is concerned. The Parking on Private Land Appeals service also acts as a check on the Penalty Charge Notices issued by National Car Parks by providing an independent appeals service to drivers.

The most important element of your National Car Parks PCN challenge is your evidence which can be a pay and display ticket showing the amount of time your vehicle was parked for or a video showing how it was properly attached to your windscreen in the car park. Other evidence items could be photographs showing you parking your vehicle within the designated markings of its parking space or a video which shows that you have use the designated parking area for the purpose it was meant to serve (a car park besides a shopping centre meant for customers etc).

You need to be creative when looking for evidence to support your appeal as many different documents or items can be sent with your PCN challenge as long as they clearly demonstrate your point of view stated in the grounds of your appeal (and are authentic).

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. 

Can I Only Challenge My National Car Parks Parking PCN online?

Yes, you can only challenge a National Car Parks Parking PCN on the National Car Parks website 

Your National Car Parks PCN appeal can be initiated by clicking here and entering your Parking PCN number, your Vehicle Registration Number (Mark). Once you have entered these details, you can click on “Submit” to find your Parking PCN on the National Car Parks online Parking Portal. 

You can view CCTV camera footage of your traffic contravention before constructing your PCN appeal. The reasons for your disputing the PCN can be typed into a word processing software first and related to the text of the relevant traffic contravention code as well as to the specific material evidence you plan to use in your appeal. These reasons need to be formally compiled into an appeals letter to be submitted to National Car Parks along with any material evidence.

So you can take 3 to 4 days for recollecting your thoughts about the traffic violation incident and even check your vehicle to recall the position in which it was parked that day. If you were driving with a passenger, their observations of the scene from the back seat of your vehicle could also help you to explain exactly what happened. Evidence including photos and videos can be attached online to your National Car Parks PCN challenge by accessing the National Car Parks PCN Database.

You have to make the challenge to your National Car Parks Parking PCN within 28 days of receiving your “Notice to Owner”.

If National Car Parks accepts your PCN appeal, the PCN will be annulled and you will not be liable for paying any monetary penalty. In case the council sends you a “Notice of Rejection” by disapproving of your representation you will have to pay the amount mentioned on your PCN.

What is a Penalty Charge Notice?

A Penalty Charge Notice is a monetary penalty issued to drivers or motorists for committing certain traffic contraventions including violating Parking, Bus Lane, and Moving Traffic restrictions. A PCN is issued for failing to follow Parking zone, bus lane enforcement, and moving traffic restrictions mentioned in the Road Traffic Act 1984 and the Traffic Management Act 2004.

A penalty charge notice can be handed to you by a Civil Enforcement Officer or dispatched to your (DVLA) residential address by post. Traffic contraventions are observed by CCTV cameras and Civil Enforcement Officers before a violation is detected and the vehicle is charged with a PCN.

A PCN might also be issued for failing to pay road charges on time. You have 28 days to decide how and if you would like to challenge your Penalty Charge Notice. After 28 days if you have neither paid nor challenged your PCN, your unpaid PCN amount will be registered as debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre at the Northampton County Court.

What Do I Need To Know About National Car Parks?

National Car Parks was founded in 1931 in West London, it was known as Central Car Parks, which had been started in 1948 by Ronald Hobson and Donald Gosling. Central Car Parks was acquired in 1998 by the US private car parks firm Cedent. It was named National Car Parks in 1999, and in 1999 National Car Parks also launched the UKs first private public partnership in car parking in the form of a joint venture with Manchester City Council (named NCP Manchester Ltd).

In 2017 National Car Parks was bought by Park 24 and the Development Bank of Japan. National Car Parks also offers the following services in its car parks:

  • Energy Efficient Lighting, Space Management and signs for using in your car park.
  • Replacements of parking equipment and upgradation of parking facilities
  • EV charging points and bicycle storage
  • Meet and Greet Services available at rush hour timings
  • Risk Management services

Which parking contravention codes are enforced in National Car Park managed car parks?

The following parking contravention codes are enforced in National Car Park managed car parks:

  • Contravention Code 71 parked within an electric vehicle’s charging space without being charged (in restricted hours)
  • Contravention Code 73 parked without paying the required parking charge.  (with a 10-minute observation time)
  • Contravention Code 80 parked in a parking space for a duration longer than that allowed by the car park.  (with a 10-minute observation time)
  • Contravention Code 82 parked after the expiry of the time limit mentioned on the parking permit or pay and display ticket (with a 10-minute observation time)
  • Contravention code 83. Parked in a National Car Parks managed car park without clearly showing the parking permit or pay and display ticket on its windscreen  (with a 10-minute observation time)
  • Contravention code 84. Parked in a National Car Parks run car park with payment made to extend(parking) beyond the original time limit first paid for. You can only buy parking for your vehicle once when you bring your vehicle to the National Car Parks parking lot and this amount (time duration) should be enough for your visit.
  • Contravention code 86. A vehicle that is shown not to be clearly parked within its designated parking space.
  • Contravention code 90. A vehicle that has been reparked within the same car park within one hour of leaving the zone
  • Contravention code 93. A vehicle has been left parked inside a car park, while the National Car Parks parking lot was closed.
  • Contravention code 94. A vehicle that has been left parked inside a pay-and-display car park without properly displaying 2 pay and display tickets where required.
  • Contravention code 95. A vehicle that has been left parked within a National Car Parks run parking lot for a different purpose than that which the car park is meant for.
  • Contravention code 96. A vehicle that has been left parked in a National Car Parks managed car park with its engine on (where prohibited)

How Can I Pay My National Car Parks Parking PCN?

You should be aware of the fact that you can only pay your National Car Parks Parking PCN fine online. The PCN fine can be paid online on the National Car Parks official website. This payment method saves time and is also more precise as your details are entered directly into an electronic database.

If you were looking for a postal order payment option or a choice for paying your PCN fine via an automated payments hotline, you might be disappointed to learn that these options are unavailable for your National Car Parks Parking PCN.

You need to enter your Parking Charge (Notice Reference) Number and Vehicle Registration Number (Mark) after opening this webpage to initiate the PCN fine payment online. After clicking “Submit” you will be shown your Penalty Charge Notice information and in the next window, you can enter your payment card details. You must remember to wait for 24 hours after your PCN is issued before attempting to pay it.

National Car Parks accepts Visa Card, Master Card and Maestro card for PCN fine payments.

What happens if I don’t pay my National Car Parks Parking PCN within 28 days?

You should not consider a private car park PCN any less than a regular PCN issued by your local council. The higher level parking contravention codes enforced by National Car Parks make you legally bound to respect them while using the company’s parking zones.

If you neither pay your National Car Parks PCN within 28 days nor decide to appeal against it, you will be sent a letter from the car park company to pay your PCN in full within 14 days. If you donot pay the PCN within the next 14 days, your (nonpayment) case will be passed on to enforcement agents or bailiffs. Your actions will also result in the filing of a court order (for recovery of debts) against you by National Car Parks.

Your unpaid Parking PCN 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 dispute my Notice of Rejection with POPLA if National Car Parks dismisses my appeal?

You can dispute your Notice of Rejection of Representations from National Car Parks with the Parking on Private Land Appeals service (POPLA). Your challenge can be sent in 2 different ways, the first method is to download the POPLA Appeals Form, print it out and send it to the Parking On Private Land Appeals service postal address:

POPLA,

PO Box 1270,

Warrington,

WA4 9RL

The letter must mention the 10 digit reference number contained in your Notice of Rejection from National Car Parks. You need to remember that the appeal to POPLA is just like a regular Parking PCN challenge. You can upload evidence such as video clips of your traffic violation scenes (taken from inside your vehicle), medical certificates from a certified General Practitioner, and scanned copies of “pay and display” tickets.

The evidence is necessary to convince the Parking on Private Land Appeals service that you did not breach the relevant Parking contravention code. You should preferably memorise all these codes before using National Car Parks parking zones, so that you know how to challenge a PCN and can do your best to avoid getting one.

If you have mentioned mitigating circumstances in your POPLA appeal, you must be able to explain the cause and effect relationship between the condition which led you to commit the traffic violation (such as leaving your vehicle parked for an extended period of time owing to a medical emergency). The evidence material to be sent with your written representation needs to be a document or photographs from the scene of the incident. You can convert a video clip into photographs by using a video player or video editing software by simply taking snapshots of the relevant frames showing your claim.

A first class mail letter takes between 1 to 2 days to reach POPLA and second class mail takes between 3 to 5 days. So you need to send in your challenge by the 20th day at the latest for it to be considered side by side with the National Car Parks legal proposition.

You also need to remember that you must submit a challenge to your Notice of Rejection from National Car Parks to POPLA within 28 days of receiving your Notice of Rejection.

How can I submit my challenge to the Notice of Rejection of Representations from National Car Parks by using the online form?

In order to submit your challenge to the Notice of Rejection of Representations from National Car Parks online, you need to visit the POPLA website. On this page you need to first agree to the terms and tick each one off and enter your 10 digit verification number stated on the Notice of Rejection from National Car Parks. You need to click on “I Confirm that the operator is correct” and click on “Start Appeal” after that. On the next page you will be asked for your National Car Parks Parking PCN Number, Vehicle Registration Number, the reasons for your challenge and the evidence material to support your case (which can be uploaded onto the POPLA system).

Here you can easily attach evidence material such as video clips and scanned copies of your medical certificates (for supporting your mitigating circumstances) through your computer. It is also an advantage to be able to first edit the text of your formal representation in a word processing software and then transfer it onto the online appeals form on the POPLA website. A better worded parking contravention challenge which mentions the legal technicalities stated in the Road Traffic Act 1988 or the Traffic Management Act 2004 regarding your parking contravention code to put forward your challenge will be considered as a strong formal representation.

The evidence attached with your challenge should also be correctly matched with the grounds of your appeal and not seem out of place. The document or video clip needs to clearly prove your mitigating circumstances or show that the traffic contravention didn’t occur, and convince POPLA to accept your evidence over that provided by National Car Parks.

Once POPLA is satisfied that National Car Park’s case has been refuted outright by your representation of the matter, the adjudicant (or assessor) of your case will probably make the final decision in your case.

This decision will be sent to both you and to National Car Parks via email simultaneously. If the decision by POPLA is made in your favour the National Car Parks Parking PCN will immediately be cancelled.

If your appeal is rejected by Parking on Private Land Appeals service, you will have to pay the fine within the next 28 days to avoid your case being taken to the debt collection stage by National Car Parks.

At POPLA “assessors” or adjudicators of your case will make their final decision based on :

  • The act of legislation your case (traffic contravention) refers to such as the Traffic Management Act 2004
  • The Code of Practice used by The British Parking Association
  • The articles of evidence put forward by National Car Parks and you which are representing opposing viewpoints of the situation.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “How Can I Challenge A National Car Parks PCN?” You should always be observant while visiting National Car Parks and alert to overstaying your parking charge as well as vigilant to properly secure your pay and display ticket to your windscreen. If your contravention is not related to a misdemeanour which involves forgetfulness you can easily use evidence such as a video clip to challenge the PCN as all you have to show is that the traffic violation never happened.