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Transport for London

Penalty Charges

Penalty Charges

We may issue a Penalty Charge Notice if you drive within the Low Emission Zone without meeting emissions standards, or paying the daily charge.

How could a Penalty Charge be incurred?

You may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) if:

  • Your vehicle does not meet the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) emissions standards and you are not exempt or registered for a 100 per cent discount 
  • The relevant charge isn't paid by midnight on the next working day after the first day of travel 
  • The vehicle has not been registered with Transport for London (TfL) 
  • You have provided an incorrect vehicle registration mark or incorrect date of travel when paying the charge
  • You paid by post but did not allow at least 10 days before your date of travel for your payment to clear

You may receive separate PCNs for each charging day that you drive within the LEZ. Please remember that the charging hours are from midnight to midnight. PCNs can be issued to both GB and non-GB registered vehicles.

You can pay a PCN online, by calling 0333 200 1000 or by post: Low Emission Zone, PO Box 4784, Worthing BN11 9PU

We will issue a warning letter the first time a vehicle which doesn't meet the standards is seen in the zone. For more information see the 'What's the enforcement process?'.

What are the penalty charges?

The amount of the Penalty Charge depends on the type of vehicle you're driving and how soon you can pay it.

Vehicle Weight Penalty Charge If paid within 14 days
- Larger vans
- Motorised horseboxes
- 4x4 light utility vehicles
- Pick-ups
- Other specialist vehicles
Between 1.205 tonnes unladen and 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight £500 £250
- Motor caravans
- Ambulances
2.5 - 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight £500 £250
- Minibuses (with more than 8 passenger seats) 5 tonnes or less gross vehicle weight £500 £250

- Lorries
- Goods vehicles
- Motor caravans
- Motorised horseboxes
- Breakdown and recovery vehicles
- Snow ploughs
- Gritters
- Refuse collection vehicles
- Road sweepers
- Concrete mixers
- Tippers
- Fire engines
- Removals lorries
- Other specialist vehicles

More than 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight £1000 £500
- Buses
- Coaches (with more than 8 passenger seats)
More than 5 tonnes gross vehicle weight £1000 £500

 

What's the enforcement process?

This guide explains the enforcement process and what notices you may receive.

Warning letters

We will issue a warning letter to the registered keeper of a vehicle that doesn't meet the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) emissions standards on the first occasion it's observed in the LEZ. This is provided it's not exempt, has registered for a 100 per cent discount or has paid the daily charge.

If the same vehicle is driven in the LEZ within a 28-day period from the date of issue of the warning letter, a Penalty Charge will not be incurred. After this 28-day period you risk being  issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) if you drive in the zone and your vehicle still doesn't meet the required emissions standard.

In the event of a change of keeper after the warning letter has been issued, any new keeper will not be issued a further warning letter. If the 28-day period after the warning letter has expired, a PCN will be issued to the registered keeper at the time of the contravention.

If you believe the warning letter has been issued in error you should contact us on 0333 200 1000.

Penalty Charge Notices

If you have been served with a notice, you have 28 days to either:

Pay the Penalty Charge

or

If you pay within 14 days of service, the Penalty Charge will be discounted by 50 per cent.

Please do not ignore a PCN.

What if I don't pay it?

If you don't pay your PCN or make a representation within 28 calendar days, it'll increase to £1,500 or £750 (depending on vehicle size).

Charge Certificate

If you do not pay the Penalty Charge within 28 days of the date of service, the original penalty amount will increase by 50 per cent and a Charge Certificate will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle.

You have 14 days from the date of service in which to pay this.

Once a Charge Certificate has been issued you can no longer challenge the notice by making a Representation. If you did not receive the original PCN, or you have not yet received a reply to a Representation, you can make a Statutory Declaration.

Order for Recovery

If a Penalty Charge is not paid within 14 days of a Charge Certificate being served then we may apply to register it as an unpaid debt. If this happens you will be sent an Order for Recovery. This is not a County Court Judgement and will not affect your credit rating.

At this point the amount owed increases to £1,507 or £757, depending on your vehicle's size. You have 21 days from the date of service in which to pay this.

Bailiffs

If a Penalty Charge has not been paid within 21 days of an Order of Recovery being served then we will ask for a Warrant of Execution, which will be passed to a Bailiff to recover monies owed.

You will not be sent a copy of the warrant, but you may request a copy directly from the Bailiff.

Initially the Bailiffs will write to you. A Bailiff is allowed to charge fees for every letter, visit and action taken. If you ignore the Bailiff's communications, their fees may run into many hundreds of pounds.

If you believe a PCN was issued incorrectly, please show any evidence to the Bailiff. They will advise you if there is anything you can do, but in most cases you must pay them.

The Bailiffs acting on our behalf are all County Court Certified and operate in accordance with governing legislation and our contractual requirements.

Enforcement against Non-GB Registered Vehicles

Recovery of unpaid penalties to non-GB registered vehicles is undertaken by a dedicated European debt recovery agency. TfL works together with a European debt recovery agency and has established links with many European vehicle licensing agencies. We will always issue and recover penalties against vehicles registered outside Great Britain wherever possible.

Challenging a Penalty Charge Notice

If you receive a Penalty Charge Notice, you are entitled to challenge it by following the Representations and Appeals process. You'll receive full details of this with your Penalty Charge. If the initial representation is rejected, you can also make an appeal to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS), which is completely independent. If you believe a Penalty Charge notice is incorrect, please contact us immediately.

Make a Representation

A Representation is your first chance to dispute a PCN and forms part of a legal process. There are a number of rules that must be followed by both ourselves and the person making the Representation.

If we reject your Representation, you have the opportunity to appeal to an independent Adjudicator.

Who can apply

PCNs are normally sent to the registered keeper of a vehicle as per the records of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. They may also be issued to the nominated hirer or leasee of a vehicle if a valid hire agreement is provided by the registered keeper.

The person or organisation named on a PCN must make the Representation, even if they were not the driver. Note:

  • The registered keeper can make a Representation on behalf of a third party 
  • We will not consider a Representation from a third party unless the registered keeper provides us with written authorisation
  • If you have been passed a PCN by the registered keeper and wish to challenge it, have them write in on your behalf or provide you with written authorisation to submit with your Representation
  • If the registered keeper is a company and you are making a Representation on behalf of the company, please indicate your position and authorisation within the company when making your Representation
  • We will always advise the registered keeper of the outcome of any investigation

When to apply

Representations must be received by Transport for London (TfL) within 28 days of the date of service of a PCN. We do not have to consider any Representations received outside the 28-day period.

If you are prevented from sending us your Representation within 28 days, we will use our discretion and may still consider it. You must provide supporting evidence to show what delayed you (eg proof of illness or holiday).

Once we receive your Representation, the PCN will be frozen until we have investigated it and written back to you.

How to apply

You have 28 days from the date of service of the PCN, to either pay the penalty or challenge the PCN by making a representation. If you pay within 14 days of the date of service, you'll receive a 50% discount. The amount payable with be £500 rather than £1000.

Representations can be made by telephone to 0845 607 0009 or in writing (by the person or organisation named on the PCN, even if that person was not the driver). The easiest option is to complete the Representation section of the PCN. Please remember to:

  • If applicable, indicate on which ground you wish to make the Representation
  • Use the space provided to explain relevant details. If you need more space please attach additional sheets of paper, remembering to write the PCN number on each sheet
  • Enclose supporting evidence 
  • Sign and date the Representation
  • Ensure it is received within 28 days of the date of service of the PCN

Send it to:
Low Emission Zone
P O Box 4784
Worthing
BN11 9PU

TfL's response

When we have considered your Representation, we will write back to you with our response. You will be sent either a Notice of Acceptance or a Notice of Rejection.

Notice of Acceptance

This means you are no longer liable for the PCN.

Notice of Rejection

This means we have assessed your Representation against accepted grounds and considered any mitigating circumstances, and believe you are still liable for the PCN.

At this stage, we will explain why you are still liable and how much you must pay. If applicable, we will also tell you about your right to appeal to an independent adjudicator.

We may ask you for additional information. If this happens, please return the information within the time stipulated.

Not paying at this stage will mean an increase in the amount you owe and enforcement action continuing. Please do not do nothing at this stage.

Grounds for Representation

A Representation may be made on one of six grounds. If none of these applies to your situation, you can still state the reasons why you believe you are not liable for a PCN.

Each Ground for Representation is defined by Parliament in the governing regulations. The information we provide about each ground, the evidence you need to provide and the circumstances that are applicable are for guidance only - they do not affect your right to make a Representation.

Ground one

I was not the registered keeper at the time of the contravention.

Read more information on Ground one (PDF 39 KB)

Ground two

I had paid the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) charge due for the vehicle used on that date, at the time and in the manner required by the LEZ scheme.

Read more information on Ground two (PDF 38 KB)

Ground 3

No Penalty Charge is payable under the scheme (eg I was not in the charging area).

Read more information on Ground three (PDF 54 KB)

Ground 4

The vehicle was used or kept without my consent (eg stolen).

Read more information on Ground four (PDF 30 KB)

Ground 5

The Penalty Charge exceeds the amount payable in the circumstances of the case.

Read more information on Ground five (PDF 29 KB)

Ground 6

We are a vehicle hire firm and the vehicle was hired out under a hire agreement on the date of contravention. The hirer signed a statement of liability for any resulting Penalty Charges.

Read more information on Ground six (PDF 40 KB)

Mitigation and discretion

If none of the six Grounds are applicable, you can still make a Representation to TfL. If you explain your circumstances, we will consider any mitigating circumstances and use our discretion in reaching a decision.

We will not accept the following explanations:

  • Forgetting to pay the charge, without any mitigating circumstances for doing so
  • Not knowing how to pay the charge 
  • Not meaning to enter the LEZ or entering it as a result of getting lost 
  • Disapproval of the LEZ scheme
  • Not knowing about the LEZ

Make an Appeal

You can only appeal to the independent Adjudicator if you have made a Representation in time which has been rejected by TfL. You will have been sent a Notice of Appeal form with the Notice of Rejection.

The Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) is an independent body which acts as a tribunal service. Its decision is final and binding on both you and TfL.

If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to Appeal.

  • To Appeal you need to complete the form sent with the Notice of Rejection
  • Do not send this to TfL but to the address shown on the Appeal form 
  • You may opt for either a personal or postal hearing
  • Remember, you only have 28 days from the date of the Notice of Rejection to appeal to PATAS
  • You need to provide all your evidence to the Adjudicator and not TfL
  • When TfL is notified of your Appeal by PATAS we will freeze the PCN. You should, however, note that you may be asked to pay the PCN at the full amount if you are unsuccessful
  • TfL will then also provide evidence to PATAS and will provide you with a copy of this evidence
  • The Adjudicator will then make a decision looking at your evidence and TfL's evidence pack. Adjudicators cannot consider mitigating circumstances or apply their discretion
  • A copy of the Adjudicator's decision will be sent to both you and TfL

Appeal Allowed

This means that following consideration by the Adjudicator the tribunal has found in your favour. This will mean that you are no longer liable for the PCN.

Appeal Refused

This means that following consideration by the Adjudicator the tribunal has found in TfL's favour. The Adjudicator will have listed the reasons why and given direction as to the amount that is owed and how quickly this must be paid.

More information about the Appeals Process can be found on the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service website.

Make a Statutory Declaration

If your Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) remains unpaid after we have served the Charge Certificate, we may apply to the Traffic Enforcement Centre and register the penalty as a debt. You will then be sent an Order for Recovery.

This is not a County Court judgement and will not affect your credit rating.

You should either pay the increased amount or, if applicable, make a Statutory Declaration before the end of the period of 21 days beginning with the date upon which the County Court order is served.

Failure to take action will result in Bailiffs being instructed.

Submitting a Statutory Declaration

A Statutory Declaration is not a representation or a complaint. You may only make a Statutory Declaration if:

  • You did not receive the original PCN. This does not apply if you just forgot to pay it, mislaid it or forgot to make a Representation
  • You made a Representation but did not receive a reply. This only applies if you made a Representation within the 28-day period and did not receive a response from ourselves. It does not apply if you received a reply you disagreed with or we refused to consider your Representation because it was late or from a third party
  • You made an Appeal to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service and did not receive a reply

Remember:

  • The Statutory Declaration is a sworn oath
  • You must accurately complete the form enclosed with the Order for Recovery
  • It must be signed before a Commissioner of Oaths (eg a solicitor), an officer of the County Court appointed by a judge to take affidavits, or a Justice of the Peace (at any Magistrates Court)
  • There is no charge if your signature is witnessed at a County Court
  • The Statutory Declaration is not a chance to complain or challenge the reason a PCN was issued

Note: If the Statutory Declaration is not signed and witnessed, or if you do not make it on one of the three grounds, the Court may refuse it.

Do not send your Statutory Declaration to TfL but send it directly to the Traffic Enforcement Centre. It deals with Statutory Declarations only and cannot advise you on other matters or take payments.

You have the right to challenge the registration of the debt by making an application to file a Statutory Declaration, Out of Time. When submitting such an application you must explain your reasons for not completing the Statutory Declaration within the original time limit. These reasons may be accepted or rejected by the Local Authority. If they are rejected, then the case will be referred to a Senior Officer of the Court at the TEC who will determine whether the application should be granted or refused..

Please be aware that TfL will review each application submitted Out of Time and may challenge the application in the event that:

  • There is evidence that you knew of the Penalty Charge Notice
  • You have failed to update the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) with your correct address
  • You are still resident at the address to which correspondence was sent
  • There are other grounds under which the application can be challenged

For further guidance on submitting an application Out of Time, please refer to the TEC website or contact their helpdesk on 0845 704 5007.

If you have submitted an application to file a Statutory Declaration Out of Time, you should make the bailiff aware of your circumstances and provide them with evidence of the application.

Outcome

If your Statutory Declaration is successful it does not mean that the PCN has been cancelled.

  • If it was made on Ground one, "that you did not receive the PCN", we will reissue it and allow you to pay or make a Representation. Do not ignore this PCN. (If you did not receive the original PCN because you changed address, ensure your Statutory Declaration includes details of your new address)
  • If your Statutory Declaration was made on Ground two or three, "that you did not receive a response to either your Representation or Appeal", then we will refer the matter to an Independent Adjudicator. This does not automatically cancel the Penalty Charge. We will send you a copy of the evidence we are required to pass to the Independent Adjudicator and they will then contact you about the hearing and its outcome. If this Appeal is refused you will be notified and must then pay the PCN

You do not have the automatic right to make a Statutory Declaration. Filing a false declaration knowingly and wilfully is a criminal offence under Section 5 of the Perjury Act 1911 and you may be imprisoned for up to two years or fined or both.

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