Bus lane PCN enforcement process

These are the stages in the enforcement process. Clicking on each will take you a description of that stage.


Penalty Charge Notice

Enforcement Authorities use cameras to monitor bus lanes for contraventions. When an alleged contravention is seen, the Enforcement Authority  may serve a Penalty Charge Notice on the person appearing to them to be the owner of the vehicle.

This is normally the person registered as the keeper at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The owner is usually, but not always, liable for the penalty, whoever was driving the vehicle at the time of the contravention. This is known as Owner Liability.

The Penalty Charge Notice is normally served by post.    

Your next steps

Pay the penalty charge

  • Payment details are on the Penalty Charge Notice.
  • You should pay within 28 days beginning with the date of the notice. If the authority receives payment within the first 14 days, you only have to pay half the penalty.
  • If you do not pay within 14 days, your right to pay the reduced penalty charge ends.
  • If the authority do not receive payment of the reduced penalty within 14 days or the full penalty within 28 days, the next stage in the formal process is for the authority to send an enforcement notice.

or:

Make an informal challenge against a Penalty Charge Notice

Some people write to the authority challenging the Penalty Charge Notice before the enforcement notice is issued. Many authorities, but not all, will consider an informal challenge and will notify you whether they accept or reject it.

However, this is not a part of the formal enforcement process and the 14 day limit for paying the reduced penalty still applies.

If you write within 14 days, some authorities will extend the 14 days for paying the reduced penalty whilst considering your letter, but you should check with them whether they will do this as not all authorities do.


Enforcement Notice

If a penalty charge for an alleged bus lane contravention is not paid within 28 days from the date of the notice, the Enforcement Authority may issue a notice to the person appearing to them to be the owner of the vehicle.

The Enforcement Notice will usually be served by post.    

Your next steps:

The person to whom an Enforcement Notice has been issued has 28 days, beginning with the date of service of that notice, to either:

  • Pay the penalty charge; or
  • Make representations to the Enforcement Authority explaining why they think they should not have to pay the penalty.

Making representations

The grounds on which you may make representations are:

  • You were not the owner of the vehicle at the material time;
  • There was no breach of the bus lane orders/regulations;
  • The person in control of the vehicle at the material time was in control of it without the owner's consent;
  • The police are already taking action (this applies if the driver of the vehicle at the material time has received a Fixed Penalty Notice or a Notice of Intended Prosecution for the same offence).

View Examples of the circumstances in which each ground might apply

Even if one of these grounds does not apply, you may ask the Enforcement Authority to consider other reasons for cancelling the penalty, such as mitigation. However, the Enforcement Authority is only bound to cancel the Enforcement Notice if they accept that one of the grounds above applies.

When making representations, you should:

  • Explain your reasons fully and carefully;
  • Send clear copies of any relevant documents, keeping the originals;
  • Make sure the Enforcement Authority receives your representations within 28 days. It may disregard representations received later. It may consider late representations, but do not have to.

The Enforcement Authority considers your representations

The Enforcement Authority must:

  • Consider representations received in time;
  • Decide whether to accept them or reject them;
  • Send to the person making the representations a Notice of Acceptance, if it accepts them; or a Notice of Rejection and a Notice of Appeal form, if it does not accept them;
  • If it has accepted the representations, cancel the enforcement notice.

The adjudicators have decided that a Enforcement Authority should normally respond to representations within 3 months.


Notice of Acceptance

If you receive a Notice of Acceptance, you will not have to pay the penalty and you need take no further action.


Notice of Rejection

The person to whom a Notice of Rejection has been issued has 28 days, beginning with the date of service of that notice, to either:

  • Pay the penalty charge; or
  • Appeal to the Adjudicator. A Notice of Appeal form should be sent by the Enforcement Authority with the Notice of Rejection. If this form is not enclosed, the Enforcement Authority should be contacted to obtain one.

If you wish to appeal to the adjudicator later than the 28 days, you should still send your appeal, but you must say on the Notice of Appeal form why it is late. The adjudicator will then decide whether to allow you to appeal late.

If the penalty charge is not paid or an appeal is not made within the 28 days allowed, the Enforcement Authority may issue a charge certificate.


Notice of Appeal

This is the form which the Enforcement Authority should send with their Notice of Rejection.

The grounds of appeal are the same as for making representations:

  • The recipient was not the owner of the vehicle at the material time;
  • There was no breach of the bus lane order/regulation;
  • The person in control of the vehicle at the material time was in control of it without the owner's consent;
  • The police are taking action.

View examples of the circumstances in which each ground might apply

The adjudicator can only allow an appeal if one of these grounds applies. Adjudicators cannot allow an appeal for other reasons, e.g. mitigating circumstances.

More information on how to appeal to the adjudicator


Charge Certificate

This is a notice issued by the Enforcement Authority increasing the penalty charge by 50%.

The Enforcement Authority may issue a charge certificate where the penalty charge has not been paid and after:

  • An enforcement notice has been served and they did not receive representations within 28 days, beginning with the date of service of that notice; or
  • A Notice of Rejection has been served and within 28 days, beginning with the date of service of that notice, no appeal to the adjudicator has been made; or
  • An appeal has been refused by the adjudicator and no payment has been received by the Enforcement Authority within 28 days of the date the decision was served; or
  • The appellant has withdrawn their appeal and has not paid the penalty charge to the Enforcement Authority within 14 days of the date on which the appeal is withdrawn.

Registration of Debt and Order for Recovery

If after 14 days of a charge certificate being served the penalty charge is still not paid, the Enforcement Authority may register it as a debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre.

The Enforcement Authority may then recover the penalty through the County Court:

  • The County Court, on application from the Enforcement Authority, will authorise the authority to draw up an Order for Recovery. The Enforcement Authority will serve this order on you, with a Statutory Declaration form.
  • If the penalty is not then paid, the authority may apply to the Court for a Warrant of Execution.

Your next steps

Pay the outstanding charge or lodge a Statutory Declaration at the Traffic Enforcement Centre.


Statutory Declaration

Where an Order for Recovery has been made, liability for the penalty can then only be challenged in the following circumstances:

  • You did not receive the enforcement notice in question; or
  • You made representations to the enforcing authority concerned but did not receive a Notice of Rejection from that authority; or
  • You appealed to the adjudicator against the rejection by the enforcement authority of your representations but had no response to the appeal.

If, and ONLY if, one of these applies, you may make a Statutory Declaration.

The completed Statutory Declaration should be returned to the Traffic Enforcement Centre within 21 days beginning with the date of service of the Order for Recovery, although there are provisions for the court to allow longer.

A Statutory Declaration may only be made by the person against whom an Order for Recovery has been made.

It is a criminal offence to make a false Statutory Declaration.

For information available from the Traffic Enforcement Centre on the Statutory Declaration procedure and downloadable forms, visit the courts service website.

Next steps

When the Court makes an order, what happens next depends on the grounds for making the Statutory Declaration.

  • If the ground is that the enforcement notice was not received, the Order for Recovery, the Charge Certificate and Penalty Charge Notice will be cancelled. The Enforcement Authority may then issue a new Enforcement Notice;
  • If the ground is that the Notice of Rejection or a decision from the adjudicator was not received, the Enforcement Authority must refer the Statutory Declaration to the adjudicator who will decide what will happen next.

NOTE: the original Penalty Charge Notice is not cancelled.