This blog answers the question “ Should I Pay Or Appeal A PCN in Bristol Council?” Bristol Council has recently changed the act of legislation it uses for bus lane enforcement to rules in Section 78 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. This blog mentions the specific parking zone restrictions which apply to streets in Central Bristol

Should I Pay Or Appeal A PCN in Bristol Council?

In Bristol Council, you should appeal your PCN if you did not commit a traffic violation such as entering a bus lane during operational hours or leaving your vehicle parked without clearly showing a pay and display ticket. Your challenge to the PCN also needs to be made within 28 days of being served the PCN.

The PCN fine (for a  parking PCN and a bus lane PCN) is just £70 in Bristol Council so if you can appeal within 21 days you might just have to pay £35 even after losing your appeal (by the 21st day).If on the other hand you have been caught red handed driving in a bus lane or breaching traffic regulations relating to Bristol Council’s parking zones (Central Bristol) you should just pay the PCN fine.

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 Can I Do If My Vehicle has been towed away?

If your vehicle has been towed away by Bristol Council you need to call 101 to ask your local police about the matter. Your inquiry will be addressed by the local police and in case your vehicle has been towed away you will have to visit the nearest vehicle pound.

Next you will be required to verify 2 kinds of ID documents such as a passport and a driving licence. You could also use 2 other combinations of documents such as your original birth certificate and your vehicle registration certificate.

You will need to present these documents along with vehicle release charges of £105 and a PCN fine payment of £25-£35. This adds up to £130-£140 and you will also have to pay storage charges of upto £12 per day for each day your vehicle was kept by the police in the vehicle pound.

Your vehicle pound charges can vary so it is best to get it removed from there as soon as possible.

You will have to make the payment to release your vehicle from the vehicle pound at Whitchurch by visiting the location in person with £105 in cash along with a surety fee. The storage costs might not be the same as you have calculated beforehand and will depend on when your vehicle was impounded by the police. 

This is the address of the Bristol Council vehicle pound at Whitchurch:

Western Distribution Lane,

Whitchurch Lane,

Bristol,

BS14 0BH

You can visit the pound at any time between 8:30am and 5:15 pm (Monday to Friday) and between 8:00 am to 11:30 am on Saturdays.The £25 or £35 Parking PCN fine has to be paid the way a regular Bristol PCN is paid before you make your visit to your vehicle pound and preferably online to save time.

You should have the 2 ID Documents, a copy of form 3078, your PCN (for parking the vehicle unattended) and your vehicle registration certificate (if this is not your ID document).  If you are using public transport to get to the vehicle pound you can use the M1 Metrobus Cribbs Causeway to Hengrove. Depending on where you live you can also choose the ABUS 991 Brislington to Keynsham.

If your vehicle has been towed away you need to go to the vehicle pound with a cash payment for the vehicle release charges and any vehicle storage expenses (incurred by the vehicle pound). Next you need to pay the required charges and your vehicle is free. You must remember to recover your vehicle within 7 days from the vehicle pound. If you leave it there for more than 14 days the car might be auctioned off or even crushed (destroyed).

What is the PCN fine for a PCN in Bristol Council?

The Penalty Charge Notice for a Bristol PCN is set at £70. This can be further reduced to just £35, if you pay within 21 days. The PCNs in Bristol Council are generally categorised as bus lane entry and Parking violation PCNs. 

The bus lane enforcement conventions being followed by Bristol Council have reverted to guidelines in Section 78 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 (and the Civil Enforcement of Road Traffic Contraventions Regulations 2022) from 31st May 2022.

So the PCNs being handed out for breaching a bus lane during operational hours will now be worth £70 (if paid within 28 days). 

Which road users can use bus lanes in Bristol Council?

The following users can use bus lanes in Bristol Council:

  • Bus drivers
  • Bicycle riders
  • Motorcycle riders
  • Taxi drivers

What is a Penalty Charge Notice?

A Penalty Charge Notice is a fine or monetary penalty for driving offenses. A PCN can be issued for committing a traffic contravention which may be a bus lane entry violation or a parking zone violation. The charges for all types of PCN violations in Bristol council are the same, just £70 when paid within 28 days.

Those actions classed as higher level traffic contraventions and lower level errors relating to parking rules or bus lane enforcement are also all given a £70 PCN.

On what grounds can I challenge my Bristol Council Bus Lane  PCN CCTV PCN?

You can challenge your Bristol Council Bus Lane CCTV PCN 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
  • You did not ignore or disregard a “no entry” sign for a bus lane.
  • Your vehicle was not left parked in a bus lane during its operational hours. This could be because you are no longer the owner of a vehicle and have recently sold it to someone else.

How can I pay my Bristol Council PCN?

You can pay your Bristol Council PCN online by entering your PCN number and Mastercard or Visa Card Number here  (Bristol Council does not accept American Express or Diners Card) along with the amount of the fine (£35 or £70). You also need to enter your billing address and full name.

Another way for paying your Bristol Council PCN is by telephone. For this form of PCN payment you have to dial 0870 707 7776. Calling on this 24 hour automated service will cost you at a rate of 2p per minute (as well as your telephone operator’s access charges)

On the call you will need to provide your payment card information which usually includes your full name and billing address. Along with this you also have to enter the PCN number and your vehicle registration number.

You can pay your Bristol Council PCN by sending a check or postal order payable to “Bristol City Council” at the following address:

Payment Processing (Parking PCN)

PO Box 3399

Bristol City Council,

Bristol,

BS1 9NE

You can mention your PCN number and vehicle registration number on the back of your check or postal order. 

What is the procedure for appealing against a Bristol PCN?

You can appeal against a Bristol PCN online by using the Bristol Council’s online service. You need to click on the “Appeal PCN Online” space on this webpage Bristol Council PCN Appeals to start your PCN appeal.

The information you will need to fill in the form includes your PCN number and Vehicle Registration Number. The reasons for you disputing the PCN must be listed down on paper and explained using the wording of relevant traffic regulations. These reasons need to be formally compiled into an appeals letter addressed to your council later, along with any material evidence if possible.

Another way of sending in your appeal is by postal service. You can write a PCN appeal to Bristol Council mentioning your PCN number and vehicle registration number. This letter along with any documents, pay or display tickets or photographs attached as proof needs to be sent to:

Parking Services (PCN Appeals),

PO Box 3399,

Bristol City Council,

Bristol,

BS1 9NE

Reasons to appeal the parking fine could also include not having proper road signs or markings (for bus lanes).

What is the procedure for the enforcement of the M 32 Bus Only Slip Road Traffic Relief Order?

The Bus Only Slip Road North Fringe to Hengrove and the bus only slip road going southward towards M 32 are both private slip roads part of the MetroBus Rapid Transit system in Bristol Council. Highways England had disallowed the use of the bus lane exit by unauthorised vehicles.

Enforcement of these rules is not being carried out on a link road built around the adopted part of the highway section by using a Traffic Relief Order (TRO). The TRO was used for 2 bus lanes on the Stoke Lane Spur MetroBus Only Link.

The red no entry sign and the sections of the (Stoke Lane Spur MetroBus Only Link) bus lane marked as “Bus Gate” serve to warn drivers from turning in that direction. So if your vehicle turns into or breaches the markings of this bus lane or either of its slip roads during operational hours, CCTV cameras will record the violation, resulting in a £70 PCN (for your vehicle).

Which kind of Parking Restrictions Apply To Central Bristol?

Central Bristol is a controlled parking zone (CPZ) This implies that all the streets within the limits of Central Bristol are also considered restricted for parking vehicles. These CPZ restrictions are shown by:

  • Double yellow lines which indicate a no parking zone
  • Yellow lines on the edge of a kerb or kerb flashes
  • Restricted time limits for parking in certain “Pay and Display Areas”
  • Single yellow lines on which you may or may not be permitted to park depending on the road sign next to it

What other charges will I face if I fail to pay my PCN within 28 days?

If you fail to pay your Bristol PCN within 28 days you will be issued a charge certificate from the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The charge certificate will increase your PCN fine to £105. If this charge certificate is 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 debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre at the Northampton County Court. The court order enforces that the charge certificate must be paid in full within 21 days. Beyond this the court will use its legal powers to recover the debt from your possession.

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

Yes, you can dispute the decision of the Bristol 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 will be required to enter your Vehicle Registration Number, the reference number from the “Notice of Rejection” letter from Bristol Council and your PCN number for which the appeal was rejected.

This challenge to Bristol Council’s PCN appeal dismissal can only be made online. 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 Bristol Council in adjudicating your case.

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 Bristol Council.

Conclusion

This blog post addressed the question “ Should I Pay Or Appeal A PCN in Bristol Council?” You need to pay your Bristol PCN within 21 days if you can spare £35 and would want to avoid going through the PCN appeals process which is delayed beyond 28 days (due to the current excessive workload of cases handled by adjudicators)  

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