This blog serves to answer the question “How Can I Challenge A Swale Council PCN? Your PCN challenge should either convince the Swale Borough Council that the contravention never occurred or that it occurred as a result of unforeseen mitigating circumstances which affected your driving abilities. The blog explains how you can use your online PCN challenge to attach better evidence to support your formal representation.

How Can I Challenge A Swale Council PCN?

You should submit a formal representation to your Swale Council PCN by using the online form on the council website. This way of challenging your Penalty Charge Notice provides you with the option of attaching video footage of your traffic violation scene to directly show the Swale Council how you say your contravention never occurred or to prove the existence of any mitigating circumstances.

The contents of your appeal should be composed offline in Microsoft Word (or any other word processing software) and evidence documents related to the challenge should be stored in a separate folder on your desktop. This data can later be transferred to the online formal representation form. Your appeal will be analyzed according to the relevant sections of the Traffic Management Act 2004 and the Road Traffic Act 1984, so it needs to be professionally worded and contain references to these laws that apply to your case.

It is essential that you formulate a strong appeals case before submitting your formal representation to the Swale Borough Council so that you don’t end up with a Notice of Rejection of Representations from the council. The “Notice of Rejection” implies that your appeal has been refused.

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. CCTV cameras and Civil Enforcement Officers observe traffic contraventions 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 Swale PCN?

You need to begin your PCN challenge by recalling the events which led to your traffic violation and by listing down any mitigating circumstances which affected your actions that day. Only events and mitigating circumstances which can be explained by using photos or video evidence or other documents such as medical certificates (already in your possession) should be considered as grounds for an appeal.

Some details might occur to you a day or two after the incident as the information sinks in to reveal minute details. It is advisable to allow yourself up to 4 days to carefully review all the facts regarding your Parking, Bus Lane or moving traffic contravention. If you are sure that the relevant contravention code was never breached, you can simply attach photo or video evidence or an (authentic) written statement from a bystander present at the scene with your Swale Borough Council PCN challenge.

You need to visit the Swale Borough Council website to submit a formal representation to your PCN. You can challenge your Swale PCN online by clicking here. On the window which opens up you need to enter your PCN Number and Vehicle Registration Number. Once these details have been entered correctly you can click on “Search”  to view your PCN details before filling in the online appeals form. This payments and appeals service has the same account so you must be careful not to click on the PCN payment option after you log in.

It is essential to upload authentic evidence material with your PCN challenge to describe your mitigating circumstances to the Swale Borough Council and for explaining your point of view of the events which took place on the traffic violation scene. 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 Swale Borough council (by mixing up the contraventions) or reasons which involve forgetfulness to justify your actions, you can submit the formal representation.

Another way to send in your Swale PCN challenge is by mail. You can write down a formal representation on paper and attach evidence documents or photographs to the form by 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. 

Evidence to support your formal representation can be attached to the form by using a stapler or paper clip. Your PCN appeals form and all accompanying evidence documents (enclosed in an envelope) need to be sent to:

Swale House,

East Street,

Sittingbourne,

Kent,

ME10 3HT

If Swale Borough Council 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.

On what grounds can I challenge a Swale Bus Lane CCTV PCN?

You can challenge a Bus Lane CCTV PCN from Swale Council on the following grounds :

  • You did not enter a bus lane during operational hours and the CCTV has wrongly charged you with a PCN as you were just trying to access premises next to the bus lane. Contravention code 34 J.
  • You did not ignore or disregard a “no entry” sign for a bus lane, the contravention code 51 J needs to be mentioned, before proving that the violation didn’t happen. 
  • Your vehicle was not parked in a bus lane during its operational hours. Contravention code 34M or 34 F.

How can I pay my Swale PCN fine?

You should be aware of the fact that you can only pay your Swale PCN fine online. The PCN fine can be paid online on the Swale Borough Council’s official website (using Visa Card, Master Card, Direct Debit, or Maestro Card) 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 the council’s telephone hotline, you might be disappointed to learn that these options are unavailable in Swale Borough Council. 

You need to enter your vehicle registration number and PCN number after opening this webpage to initiate the PCN fine payment online. After clicking “Search” 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.

You must pay your PCN fine within 28 days. You should pay before 14 days if you don’t want to miss out on the 50% early payment discount (which reduces Parking PCNs to £35 or £25 and Moving Traffic PCNs to £35). If you pay your Swale Bus Lane PCN within 21 days, you will have to pay just £35.

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

A Parking PCN in Swale Borough 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 Swale 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 Swale 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 Swale Borough Council. As per your driving license rules, you are bound to abide by Parking, Bus Lane, and Moving Traffic contravention codes in Swale Borough Council.

If you neither pay your Swale 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 Swale Borough 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 Swale PCN with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal if the Swale Borough Council dismisses my appeal?

Yes, you can dispute the decision of the Swale Borough 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 Swale Borough 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 Swale Borough 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 Swale Borough Council. You must avail 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 Swale Borough Council.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “How Can I Challenge A Swale Council PCN?” Authentic evidence from the traffic contravention scene forms the most compelling aspect of your formal representation to the Swale Borough Council. In case your PCN challenge is not accepted by the Swale Council, you can dispute your Notification of Rejection of Representations with the independent adjudicators at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal and file another judicial review of the decision of the Swale Borough Council.

Citations

Swale Borough Council website

Traffic Penalty Tribunal website

Traffic Management Act 2004 Schedule 7 Part 4 Moving Traffic Contraventions

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