This blog serves to answer the question “How Can I Challenge An Essex County Council PCN?” The blog emphasises the importance of maintaining a record of your road presence in Essex County Council by using a video camera, which can be operated by a passenger travelling with you. Each of the grounds for your PCN challenge must be backed by authentic evidence to convince the council of your point of view.

How Can I Challenge An Essex County Council PCN?

Before composing your Essex County PCN challenge, you should gather all the evidence which can be used to explain your actions that day. If this evidence relates to mitigating circumstances, they need to be serious enough to prevent you from effectively operating your vehicle or should involve a medical emergency which requires you to seek immediate assistance. You also have to provide the Essex County Council with medical certificates describing your illness (which might be Covid-19) and also a doctor’s report of your condition that day.

If you are challenging a Penalty Charge Notice by stating that you had tried to prevent the incident but for instance were moving to avoid a collision with a vehicle moving in your direction, you should have proof of this detail readily available with you. It is necessary to attach authentic photos or video evidence to describe your version of events on the scene of the traffic violation. Video footage and still photographs from inside the vehicle (taken on the scene) can also show for instance, how you tried to apply the brakes to your vehicle on time or to steer it properly in the correct direction.

You should be satisfied that you have attached all the necessary evidence to your formal representation before turning it in.

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 fine or monetary penalty for driving offences. A PCN can be issued for any legal traffic contravention, such as a parking contravention, moving traffic contravention or bus lane violation.

The charges of your PCN will also vary depending on whether it has been issued for a higher level violation or for a lower level violation. A PCN may also be served for refusing to pay road charges.

A PCN may be issued by a Civil Enforcement Officer or by CCTV. You will be given 28 days to respond to a Penalty Charge Notice.

 If you fail to pay the fine or appeal it, you will be sent a charge certificate which increases the PCN fine by 50% of its original value.

Can I Only Challenge An Essex County PCN on the official website?

Yes, you can only challenge an Essex County PCN on the Essex Highways website

Your Essex County PCN appeal can be initiated by clicking here. On this Bus Lane web portal  you need to enter your PCN number and Vehicle Registration number Once you are ready to enter your appeal you can click “Search” to start typing your PCN challenge. You can view CCTV camera footage of your traffic contravention before constructing your PCN appeal.

The reasons for you disputing the PCN must be listed down on paper first and explained using the wording of relevant traffic regulations. These reasons need to be formally compiled into an appeals letter to be submitted to the Essex County Council along with any material evidence.

So you can take 3 to 4 days to recollect your thoughts about the traffic violation incident and even check your vehicle to recall the position in which it was parked that day.. Evidence including photos and videos can be attached online by using the Essex Highways website

You have to make the challenge to your PCN within 28 days of receiving it.

If the Essex County 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.

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How can I pay my Essex County PCN?

You should be aware of the fact that you can only pay your Essex County PCN fine online. The PCN fine can be paid online on the Essex County 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 Essex County 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 Essex County 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 Essex County Council?

The 3 kinds of PCNs served in Essex County Council are a Parking PCN, a Bus Lane PCN and a Moving Traffic PCN. 

The Penalty Charge Notice fine for an Essex County Parking PCN is set at £70 for a higher level traffic violation and £50 for a lower level traffic violation. A 50% discount applies to early payment so If you pay your higher level parking PCN within 14 days, you just have to pay £35. Similarly, if you pay your lower level parking PCN within 14 days, you just have to pay just £25.

If you pay a Bus Lane PCN within 28 days, you will be charged £70 and if you pay it within 21 days, you just have to pay £35. The PCN fine for a moving traffic PCN in Essex County Council is £70. There is a 50% discount for paying it within 14 days, which reduces the fine to £35.

What are the higher level contraventions for an Essex County Parking PCN?

The higher level contraventions for an Essex County Parking PCN are as follows:

  • Your vehicle was parked in a restricted street during its operational hours.
  • You left your vehicle parked in a residential parking bay without displaying a pay and display ticket.
  • Your vehicle stopped on a taxi rank or parked there.
  • Your parked vehicle was blocking traffic in the area.
  • Your vehicle was parked with one or more of its wheels positioned over a footpath.
  • Your vehicle was parked in a parking zone reserved for blue badge holders or police vehicles.
  • Your vehicle exceeded the permitted height or length of the vehicle that can be parked in the parking zone.
  • Your vehicle has failed to follow a restriction order for vehicles entering a pedestrian only zone.

What are the lower level contraventions for an Essex County Parking PCN?

The lower level contraventions for an Essex County Parking PCN are as follows:

  • Your vehicle was parked again in the same parking zone within one hour of leaving the zone.
  • Your vehicle was parked with its engine on, in a parking zone where this is prohibited.
  • Your vehicle was not parked within the correct markings of a parking bay or parking space and a full wheel of your vehicle was outside its allocated parking space.
  • Your vehicle was still parked in a parking zone when its indicated time limit had expired.
  • Your vehicle was parked in a disc parking space without clearly displaying the parking disc.
  • Your vehicle was parked in a paid parking zone without any pay and display ticket.

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

If you fail to pay your Essex County PCN within the 28-day limit you will be sent a charge certificate from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The charge certificate increases your PCN fine by 50%. 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 Essex County Council.

When the charge certificate is also not paid within 14 days, you will receive a “Notice of Debt Registration” and a witness certificate from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. 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 or it will have to use additional powers to recover the money from your possession.

Can I Dispute A PCN from the Essex County Council with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal if the council dismisses my appeal?

Yes, you can dispute the decision of the Essex County Council in your “Notice of Rejection of Representations” with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. For this, you can use the Traffic Penalty Tribunal’s website by clicking this link 

You can watch this instructional video here to learn about your challenge process. It 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 Essex County Council (shown on the bottom part of the page) .

You will then be required to enter your Vehicle Registration Number, the reference number from the “Notice of Rejection” letter from the Essex County Council, and your PCN number for which the appeal was rejected.

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 attach a copy of your “Notice of Rejection of Representations” letter to your application by using the Traffic Penalty Tribunal’s online portal.

Scanned copies of evidence to strengthen your case such as a pay and display ticket or photographs of the scene can be added along with your explanation. The explanation of your case should be well worded and convince the tribunal of an error on the part of the Essex County Council in adjudicating your case.

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 Essex County Council.

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

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “How Can I Challenge An Essex County Council PCN?” A reason for challenging your PCN can be as simple as your pay and display ticket sliding off your windscreen due to condensation formation on its surface, but it has to be backed by photo or video evidence explaining your version of events (which the CCTV might have missed out).  A Notice of Rejection of Representations from the Essex County Council can be further disputed with a panel of expert lawyers at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

Citations

Essex Highways website

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