If you park in the wrong place on a public road, then it’s normally the local council that’s responsible for issuing a ticket. They also control many off-street car parks on their own land. In 2017–18, councils in England claimed nearly £1.7 billion from motorists.


If you have paid to park, you are allowed to overstay by up to ten minutes. But that doesn’t mean you get ten minutes’ free parking to dash into a shop and back! If you pay the penalty charge within 14 days, the fine will normally be halved.


Supermarkets and the NHS (in England) use private firms to police their car parks. It’s private land so they can set the terms – allowing a maximum time to stay, for example. Most private car parks also give a ten-minute grace period. But once that time has passed, hefty penalty charges are imposed – £85 or more for overstaying just seconds beyond that ten minutes grace is common.

The charge will usually be halved if it’s paid within 14 days. These private charges are enforceable after a Supreme Court ruling in November 2015. However, the court said that signs must be clear and charges must be reasonable.

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Most private car parks have cameras to read your number plate and get the owner’s name and address from the DVLA.


If you have grounds, complain to whoever issued the penalty charge notice. Do it quickly as there are time limits. If that’s rejected and you think it’s unfair, you can appeal. Success rates are high. But remember that, if you then lose, appealing may take you past when you can pay a reduced fine.

To appeal public fines in England and Wales visit trafficpenaltytribunal.gov.uk or in London londontribunals.gov.uk

For Scottish fines, go to mygov.scot/parking-appeals

For parking fines on private land, appeal to popla.co.uk or theias.org – the charge notice will tell you which.

For further help, visit moneysavingexpert.com and search “parking fines” or resolver. co.uk or donotpay.com


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