This blog serves to answer the question “How Can I Challenge A Northumberland PCN?” Your Northumberland PCN challenge is an attempt to convince the council that you have been wrongly charged with a Penalty Charge Notice by mentioning your authentic mitigating circumstances or by clearly showing that the traffic violation didn’t happen. It is imperative for you to collect evidence of your driving actions in Northumberland County Council (such as video recordings) on a daily basis to ensure that you don’t lose precious data that can be used for challenging a PCN.

How Can I Challenge A Northumberland PCN?

You need to assemble evidence relating to your Northumberland PCN challenge before writing down the text of your appeal. This evidence may consist of medical certificates, pay and display tickets, authentic photographs or video footage of the traffic violation.

It is necessary to preserve this evidence in digital form to keep it readily available for uploading with your PCN appeal. So you should regularly record your road journeys in the Northumberland County Council as every day’s recording matters. You can upload scanned copies of your evidence documents such as pay and display tickets and medical certificates to your laptop or computer.

A family member or friend travelling with you can operate the digital camera or camcorder (which has a powerful digital zoom feature) to timely capture precious evidence relating to your potential traffic contravention. If you miss out this evidence, there is no other way of explaining your point of view regarding the alleged traffic violation or of arguing that the contravention never occurred (as the CCTV shows it did). 

For instance if you have been handed a moving traffic PCN for failing to make way for incoming vehicles (Code 37 ) or for making a prohibited U turn (code 50) the video footage can be used to show that the traffic contravention didn’t happen. Your video should have a date stamp matching the date and time of your Penalty Charge Notice.

You should also create a habit of memorising the traffic contravention codes enforced at different parking zones, road junctions and bus lanes along your daily route by matching them with their location. So when you stop at a road junction and see the sign in front of you, the name of the road you have to turn into (or should not turn into) should connect with its traffic contravention code in your head, say Code 32 which enforces one way traffic.

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 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, you will be sent a charge certificate from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

If you don’t challenge a PCN, you should pay the fine within 28 days, otherwise, its amount will increase by 50%. A £70 PCN will be worth £105 if you pay it in the 14 days after receiving your charge certificate.

What is the procedure for appealing against a Northumberland PCN?

You can submit a formal representation to your Northumberland PCN by writing a letter addressed to the Northumberland County Council or by filling in the online formal representation form on the council’s official website.

You need to brainstorm reasons for challenging a Northumberland PCN from the day of the incident and list them down in word processing software or on paper. It is essential to have some authentic evidence to attach with your PCN appeal in the form of video footage of the traffic violation, medical certificates explaining your mitigating circumstances, or pay and display tickets. 

The evidence must be matched with the grounds for your appeal before describing the incident from your point of view. Your rough formal representation can be edited for clarity multiple times before it is ready to attach to your online appeal to the Northumberland County Council. You need to visit the Northumberland County Council website, to submit a formal representation to your PCN. You have to open this webpage to enter your PCN number and your Vehicle Registration Number. You need to click on “Search”  to view your PCN details before filling in the online appeals form.

It is essential to upload authentic evidence material with your PCN challenge to describe your mitigating circumstances to the Northumberland County Council and for explaining your point of view of the events which took place at the traffic violation scene.  If you made a video clip of your traffic contravention, you should save snapshots from it by using a video player or video editing software. 

Most video players such as VLC player allow you to slow down your video frame by frame and thus take ( a collection of) snapshots to attach with your Northumberland PCN challenge.The text of your appeal must state the relevant contravention code on your PCN and explain how you attempted to avoid the error (supported by photos or video footage).

Once you have proofread your appeal to eliminate any reasons for your challenge which might convey a disregard for traffic contravention codes enforced in Northumberland County Council (by mixing up the contraventions) or reasons which involve forgetfulness to justify your actions, you can submit the formal representation.

You can also write down an informal representation to your Northumberland PCN by downloading and printing out this form. The form needs to be completed and mailed to the Northumberland County Council Parking Services address:

Parking Services,

Northumberland County Council,

County Hall,

Morpeth,

Northumberland,

NE61 2EF

You can also choose to submit your informal representation by writing an email to parkingservices@northumberland.gov.uk. You have to mention your email address, Vehicle Registration Number, and PCN number clearly in the correspondence. You can also write down your DVLA postal address mentioned on your vehicle registration (V5C) certificate.

The informal representation must put forward a legitimate appeals case that includes acceptable mitigating circumstances or indicates that you have evidence that clearly shows that the contravention never happened. Once you are sure that you have constructed a strong appeals case to make the council grant you a formal representation, you can submit your form. The informal appeals stage is applicable to PCNs sent by post.

Another way to send in your Northumberland PCN challenge is by mail. You should view the evidence relating to your Parking, Bus Lane or Moving Traffic contravention before writing down the appeal. For viewing CCTV evidence you need to enter your PCN Number and Vehicle Registration Number on this webpage.

You can write down a formal representation on the reverse of your Notice to Owner (PCN) and attach evidence documents or photographs to the form using a stapler or paper clip. Your letter should mention your PCN number, date of issue of the PCN, your vehicle registration number, and personal details. 

Your Notice to Owner form and all accompanying evidence documents (enclosed in an envelope) need to be sent to:

Parking Services,

Northumberland County Council,

County Hall,

Morpeth,

NE61 2EF

How can I pay my Northumberland PCN fine?

It is best to make your Northumberland PCN fine payment online on the council website using Visa Card, Master Card, Direct Debit or Maestro Card. This method saves time and is also more precise. 

You need to enter your PCN number and your vehicle registration number after opening this webpage to initiate the PCN fine payment online.To complete your fine submission online you also have to enter your payment card details in the next window after clicking “Search” You must remember to wait for 24 hours after your PCN is issued before attempting to pay it.

But if you want to pay by post you need to attach a check or postal order payable to “Northumberland County Council” and send it to this address:

Parking Services, 

Northumberland County Council,

County Hall,

Morpeth,

Northumberland,

NE61 2EF

You should remember to write down your PCN number and Vehicle Registration Number on the back of your check or postal order.

Your Northumberland PCN fine is also payable by telephone. You need to dial the following number to connect to Northumberland County Council’s payments system: 0345 600 6400. Next, you need to enter your payment card details on the call as well as your card’s billing address. Your vehicle registration number and PCN number are also needed to complete your payment. This automated payments hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also pay your Northumberland PCN in person at any of the council’s customer service centres.

How much is the PCN fine for each of the 3 kinds of PCNs served in Northumberland County Council?

A Parking PCN in Northumberland County Council is served for violating higher or lower level parking restrictions. You have to pay £70 for committing a higher level parking contravention and £50 for a lower level parking contravention. If you pay the parking fine within 14 days, you will just be paying £35 or £25 as a 50% discount is applicable to your payment.

For failing to comply with a bus lane contravention code or a moving traffic restriction in Northumberland County Council, you will be charged a £70 Penalty Charge Notice. The 50% early payment discount reduces both these types of PCN fines to £35 if a bus lane PCN is paid within 21 days and a moving traffic PCN is paid within 14 days

What will happen if I don’t pay my Northumberland PCN within the 28-day limit?

You should not ignore traffic contraventions or the Penalty Charge Notices resulting from them or cultivate a careless attitude towards driving in Northumberland County Council. As per your driving license rules, you are bound to abide by Parking, Bus Lane, and Moving Traffic contravention codes in Northumberland County Council.

If you neither pay your Northumberland 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 £105 (or £75) now. You should pay the charge certificate within 14 days as it cannot be appealed and ignoring the charge certificate may result in the filing of a court order (for recovery of debts) against you by the Northumberland County 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 Dispute A Northumberland PCN with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal if the Northumberland County Council dismisses my appeal?

Yes, you can dispute the decision of the Northumberland County Council in your “Notice of Rejection of Representations” with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The Traffic Penalty Tribunal website requires you to enter details given on your Notice of Rejection of Representations, after opening this webpage

You can watch this instructional video here to learn about your challenge process. The video clearly explains how to use the online service offered by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. On the Traffic Penalty Tribunal webpage, you will first have to select the type of PCN you were served by the Northumberland County Council (shown on the bottom part of the page).

After clicking on your specific type of Penalty Charge Notice, you should select “England” (Outside London). In the window which opens up, you should click on the orange box which reads “If you don’t agree with the PCN, you can make representations against it”.

After viewing the instructions on the following page, you need to click on “Start your appeal here” at the bottom of the webpage You will then be required to enter your Vehicle Registration Number, the reference number from the “Notice of Rejection” letter from the Northumberland County Council, and your PCN number for which the appeal was rejected on this page.

You can use the online service to challenge multiple “Notices of Rejection” simultaneously. You will require a valid email address to create an account on the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website. You have to upload a copy of your “Notice of Rejection of Representations” letter to your application by using the Traffic Penalty Tribunal’s online portal.

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, maps of the area showing the exact distance your vehicle travelled inside a no-entry zone, and scanned copies of “pay and display” tickets. You should construct a strong appeals case to communicate your mitigating circumstances or to deliver your assertion that the traffic violation never occurred.

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal should be able to ascertain the legitimacy of your situation by viewing evidence material uploaded to the PCN appeals system.

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 the Northumberland County Council. You must avail yourself of this chance of a free and independent hearing of your case. 

You will be able to contact the Traffic Penalty Tribunal adjudicator during the formulation of your appeal. The result of your appeal will be communicated to you within 14-28 days of submitting your representation. If the adjudicator decides the case in your favour, the PCN will be cancelled by the Northumberland County Council.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “How Can I Challenge A Northumberland PCN?” The focus of your Northumberland PCN challenge will differ from proving that you had properly attached a pay and display ticket to your vehicle or parked it correctly within its designated parking space (for a Parking PCN) to demonstrating your mitigating circumstances for breaching a bus lane during its operational hours (for a Bus Lane PCN). All these different kinds of contravention codes require specific focal points to compose your PCN challenge around, which needs to be carefully selected given your available evidence material.

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