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FightBack Forums > Queries > Council Parking Tickets & Clamping and Decriminalised Notices
tlerner87
Hi there! I'd really appreciate a bit of advice RE a parking ticket I got before Christmas.

this is what happened:

During the extended cold spell before Xmas, my road (a cul-de-sac on a hill) was completely frozen and blanketed in snow. We have on street parking with resident parking permits. I had my permit displayed in my windscreen (although it was frozen over). No cars had been up or down or moved for almost 2 weeks, it was pretty impassable.

I had parked at the end of the parking bay, where it stops and then becomes double yellow lines, and then tried to use my car. It basically just swivelled on the spot a bit and got stuck, wheels spinning and i couldnt push or roll it anywhere. Also couldnt see the parking bay lines very clearly at all. My car ended up about 6-12 inches away from the kerb, and (now i know) over the end of the bay and the front wheel was on the double yellows. At the time I could tell that it wasnt parked well but had no choice but to wait for the road to defrost. I then went to bed...

the next morning, the ice had melted just enough to see the lines...and a parking ticket stuck on my screen for being parked on the yellow lines. The ticket time was 7:53am to 7:58am on literally the first morning for ages that the ice had started to defrost. I left the house at 9 for work and was shocked.

I appealed the ticket using an online form through the council, this is what I wrote:

Hello, I was shocked to wake up to this parking ticket on my car outside my house. Since the ice and snow completely obscured all the yellow lines and parking boxes on the road, it was not only a guess where to park within the boxes but also at the mercy of the car sliding around. I couldnt believe it when on the first morning the snow and ice thawed revealing the lines, I was ticketed at 7:58am, because my front wheels were outside the parking box (Which i have a permit for) and on the yellow lines. This is extremely harsh! Give people a chance (i.e not early in the morning on the first sign of thawing) to adjust their parking. I would appreciate it if this unjustified fine was cancelled.


Ive just recieved a rejection of my "informal letter of challenge". They said that "it is the motorists' responsibility to observe and adhere" blah blah. and that my "reasons in the letter are not considered sufficient to justify cancellation".

I have 2 weeks to pay the discounted rate, or I can make a "Formal Representation" and then if this is rejected an appeal to the "Traffic Penalty Tribunal". I dont really know what these are - but what i want to know is:

Do I make a formal representation? I know that looking at it objectively, I did have wheels on the double yellows when they were visible, but im annoyed because I got stuck there when I couldnt see the lines and had literally no chance to move it, they ticketed so early on the first day it defrosted.

Any advice is much appreciated!
Tom
makara
Can't remember exactly, but I seem to remember a very similar thread on these boards (EDIT - just a few weeks ago) about a person who lived "at the top of a hilly road" - and who was I think also caught out by Snow covering lines.


Perhaps my memory's wrong, but let's see if anyone else remembers that thread, as it may give clues on how to fight this.
tlerner87
thanks for your reply - i think this is the one youre referring to:

Parking ticket whilst parked on main road due to snow http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showto...766&hl=snow

doesnt seem like its been resolved.

I think I now have to wait for this Notice to Owner letter and then i can make a formal representation. I took this from the Nottingham city council website:

The reverse of the Notice to Owner offers the opportunity to make a formal representation (within 28 days) on the following grounds:

•The contravention did not occur
•The penalty exceeded the relevant amount
•The Traffic Order was invalid
•I was not the owner/keeper of the vehicle at the time of the contravention
•The vehicle had been taken without my consent
•We are a hire firm and have supplied the name and address of the hirer
If the Council rejects a Formal Representation, a Notice of Rejection will be issued requesting payment of the full £50 or £70.


Out of those bullet points Im not sure if my case will stand (possily the traddic order was invalid??), it just seems really unfair!!!

SchoolRunMum
Yep, you do need to wait for the NtO before you can make formal reps. Then after that the 'tribunal' (sounds scary but apparently not) is just an adjudicator chappie or chappess deciding if you have to pay up or not. It's basically a 3 stage appeal, jumping through each hoop before the Council fold (usually).

But in the meantime can you post here a reply with a picture of the PCN, both sides, all small print & dates (just blank off your car ID and the PCN number/barcode)? Also a pic of the rejection letter?

There's a sticky thread near the top of this forum board showing how to post pictures on your thread.
Alexis
Case of circumstances beyond the driver's control if you cannot move your car due to ice. Stupid council.

Make same reps when you receive the NtO.
makara
QUOTE (tlerner87 @ Mon, 28 Mar 2011 - 21:27) *
thanks for your reply - i think this is the one youre referring to:

Parking ticket whilst parked on main road due to snow http://forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showto...766&hl=snow

doesnt seem like its been resolved.



That could have been it - or another one that was very similar.

I believe the Experts on these boards have recently commented that "extreme weather conditions" hiding line markings should be treated the same as "fallen leaves covering DYLs" - i.e. exceptions should be made when snow or ice or giant golf-ball size hail covers road markings.
DancingDad
Being as it's NCC, bung em another informal challenge specifically asking how a driver can observe and comply with signs that are not visible.
I'd take this all the way BTW..... no way is an adjudicator going to find for them with invisible signs.
tlerner87
heres the scans you asked for! hope theyre ok.







from the other posts im definately going to appeal it, just got to wait for the NtO. i dont think i can make another informal challenge now.

the road markings werent clear, but it was also that my car was completely stuck!
Gan
They've completely ignored your reference to the snow which is a further appeal point.

The rejection refers to checking the markings prior to parking. It doesn't say anything about markings that surface afterward.

DancingDad
QUOTE (tlerner87 @ Tue, 29 Mar 2011 - 19:33) *
................................ i dont think i can make another informal challenge now.................


As I said earlier..... you can and I'd recomend that you do.
Specifically on how you, as the driver, can comply with signs that are not visible.
I'd also ask for all CEO notes and photographs so you may fully consider the worth of any evidence pertaining to the alleged contravention.
Email them today...head the email informal challenge to PCN ????

hcandersen
Following on from your earlier thread, if I remember correctly you did yourself no favours in your informal because you did not state explicitly that you did not leave your car in its location deliberately, you were prevented from progressing. In this case by road conditions. This is a statutory defence and you should send another informal as suggested and make this point clearly and unambiguously if you believe it's correct. Timing is going to be key. Arguably, the contravention occurred when you left your car there, but that's not the time of contravention on the PCN - so, what were you doing when the PCN was issued? Did you check on your car after leaving it to see if you could make progress? Being prevented from progressing is not a continuing defence, it applies only when you are actually prevented and you have a duty to try to move when circumstances permit. So, will this distill itself into a defence that you made checks and intended to move the car when possible - it just happened that the CEO turned up before you could move. This assumes of course that the car was movable at that time. As this is your defence the CEO would need to be able to state that this defence does not apply and this can only be seen in the notes or the CEO's recollection. By the way, is this a two-wheel drive or 4-wheel, front or rear-wheel drive?

IMO forget signs and lines - they're irrelevant. You live there and you acknowledge parking at the end of the parking place where permit restrictions exist. IMO you undermine your own argument here if you state that you tried to move your car (which clearly implies moving out of the parking place) and then you didn't know what restrictions then applied.

If you feel as if you must mention this by all means, but IMO it's a second-order issue.

HCA
DancingDad
Sorry to disagree on the signs and lines HCA.
If they are not visible they cannot apply.
It matters not that the OP lives there...as they said in post #1, with everything covered in snow, they could not be sure where the lines applied.
And more importantly.... OP sends in an informal challenge referring to lines covered in snow. NCC (Hi Guys) consider this so deeply that they send back a template reply stating it is the driver's responsibility to be aware of signs and lines and totally ignore the covering blanket. This is failure to consider at it's worst.
hcandersen
I know where you're going but AIUI the signs were visible when the PCN was issued and that's the vital time unless, as I suggested, the OP could formulate a stat defence about not being able to move. Or is the OP going to say I did consciously leave my car there but didn't notice the lines?

The OP must be careful - I don't think it's possible to advance both arguments because it appears to me that one will belie the other. Or if it is possible, great care will be needed in choosing words.


HCA
DancingDad
Where I'm going with it at the moment is challenging the ridiculous situation that NCC(Hi guys) have left the OP in.
It is the motorist's responsibility to check signs and lines!...How under deep enougn snow and ice to prevent the car moving?
It may have been acceptable for a CEO to issue a PCN as the thaw had left lines more visible but unacceptable to rely on that thaw as a reason to penalise someone who parked "legally" hours earlier.
hcandersen
Aye, we know their reputation, but if their decision to issue the PCN (which from their perspective must be based only on the prevailing conditions) falls within the scope of their power, then we have to look for a stat defence and not one that relies on shades of fairness and the exercise of discretion. Whereas the OP knows the circumstances leading up to the "contravention", the CEO does not. The PCN has been issued so we must deal with that and I always prefer stat defences if they're available because they're guaranteed. I'm not saying don't also advance the signs and lines argument, but to be careful and beef-up the stat defence line and consider the questions which the adj might throw at the OP if it goes all the way.

HCA
tlerner87
QUOTE (hcandersen @ Wed, 30 Mar 2011 - 09:08) *
Following on from your earlier thread, if I remember correctly you did yourself no favours in your informal because you did not state explicitly that you did not leave your car in its location deliberately, you were prevented from progressing. In this case by road conditions. This is a statutory defence and you should send another informal as suggested and make this point clearly and unambiguously if you believe it's correct. Timing is going to be key. Arguably, the contravention occurred when you left your car there, but that's not the time of contravention on the PCN - so, what were you doing when the PCN was issued? Did you check on your car after leaving it to see if you could make progress? Being prevented from progressing is not a continuing defence, it applies only when you are actually prevented and you have a duty to try to move when circumstances permit. So, will this distill itself into a defence that you made checks and intended to move the car when possible - it just happened that the CEO turned up before you could move. This assumes of course that the car was movable at that time. As this is your defence the CEO would need to be able to state that this defence does not apply and this can only be seen in the notes or the CEO's recollection. By the way, is this a two-wheel drive or 4-wheel, front or rear-wheel drive?

IMO forget signs and lines - they're irrelevant. You live there and you acknowledge parking at the end of the parking place where permit restrictions exist. IMO you undermine your own argument here if you state that you tried to move your car (which clearly implies moving out of the parking place) and then you didn't know what restrictions then applied.

If you feel as if you must mention this by all means, but IMO it's a second-order issue.

HCA


Ill make another informal then by email. When the PCN was issued, I was in bed, yet to get up and leave for work (by foot!). When i saw that the ice and snow had melted a bit and now it was possible to move the car, i parked it properly. After the car got stuck there was no chance of moving it before i went to bed the night before.
The car is an old mini, front wheel drive with really low profile tyres. Absolutely useless in the snow.

Im not particularly trying to push the signs and lines, because I know that the car was probably not in the space (albeit i couldnt see the lines) after I tried to move it and it got stuck. I will mention that the lines were not visible, but I now appreciate that my main argument is that my car was stuck and i didnt have a chance to move it before it got ticketed at ridiculous o'clock AM on the first morning the ice started to melt (it had been impassable for best part of 2 weeks). Ill also request the CEO notes and photographs in the informal appeal email.

In my email, do I challenge them that they havent considered the fact that the lines were visible i.e. their failure to consider?

Thanks for all your advice so far, its very helpful to me!
hcandersen
I think your description is fine because it sounds authentic and is a plausible line of defence.

IMO, your line is that on the day previous to service of the PCN you had attempted to use your car for ***, but you could not move it under control and had to abandon it a short distance from where you were originally parked. It was not possible to move the car later in the day. When you went to move it the following day, a PCN had already been served. The vehicle was left in the location stated on the PCN for reason beyond the driver's control. Whether you should or could have moved it before the PCN was served is a moot point and AIUI the stat defence is that you were prevented from moving the vehicle - and although this is designed to legalise being stationary on the highway at any time (even stopped at traffic lights/held in traffic in the normal course of driving) and probably implies the driver being in the vehicle at all times, when it comes to bad weather IMO the defence is still available even when the driver is away from the vehicle.

This is an extract from a traffic order:
(f) if the vehicle is waiting owing to the driver being prevented
from proceeding by circumstances beyond his control or to such
waiting being necessary in order to avoid an accident

It could be argued that "Driver being prevented from" has a different meaning to 'driver having been prevented from', but that would mean that in every snowdrift or situation of black ice the driver is obliged to remain with his vehicle in order to be able to use this exemption! IMO, that's for the council to argue as regards its own order.


HCA
tlerner87
hi again, so ive written another informal appeal (on their website it specifically says they will only respond to one letter of informal challenge - ill send it anyway!). Having written this ive realised i didnt do myself any favours with the last one, only briefly referring to the fact i was sliding around. Anyway, heres what Ive written, Id appreciate it if youd give it a quick look over before i send it!!


PCN Number: ***** served on 11/12/2010.

Name:
Address:
REgistration:

I write to make an informal appeal to the above referenced PCN.

I recieved this PCN at 07:53-07:58 AM on 11/12/2010, because you say that my car was in breach of contravention 01 "Parked in a restricted street during prescribed hours". I live on this street, and have my parking permit attached to the windscreen. Over this period of time, the weather was extremely icy and snowy, having been the longest cold spell to have hit the UK for many decades. Not once over this period had Wellington Square been gritted leaving thick ice and snow on the road. In addition it is on an incline, and all meant that the road was completely impassable, as I found out when I tried to use my car which had been parked in the allocated spaces. The car just span its wheels (as it is an old mini, it has front wheel drive and low profile tyres which are useless in the snow and ice), rotated on the spot and sliding out of control and I was completely stuck. I couldnt move it despite repeated attempts to park it nearer the kerb, I had to leave it where it was because it was out of my control. In addition, the parking lines were not visible due to the snow and ice, but having lived here for a year I know roughly where the lines are and knew that I probably had to move it nearer the kerb. The car was stuck and I kept a close eye on the road conditions but they did not improve (Wellington square took many more days to thaw than the surrounding streets which had been gritted) to a point where my car could be moved, I knew I would have to wait until the ice started to thaw a bit.


The morning that the ticket was issued was the first morning for approximately 2 weeks that the ice on Wellington Square had not thickened overnight and in fact had melted a bit, so that the lines were now visible and it was possible to move my car, which I did at the first opportunity, however my car had already been ticketed. I had no opportunity to move it as it got ticketed so early in the morning. I would like to see all CEO notes and photographs regarding the PCN too.

Yours Sincerely,

**


Glacier2
Have you a NTO yet?
tlerner87
QUOTE (Glacier2 @ Fri, 1 Apr 2011 - 19:42) *
Have you a NTO yet?



not yet.
hcandersen
OK, but IMO you must round it off with words to the effect that:

'I therefore submit that the contravention did not occur as there is an exemption to this restriction if the driver was prevented from moving the vehicle, which is the situation in my case.

If the council is not prepared to cancel the PCN then, in addition to you providing me with a clear explanation as to why you do not accept that this exemption applies, I require you to provide me with copies of the CEO's notes, photographs.'


HCA
tlerner87
done. thanks very much, ill update when something happens!!really appreciate the help.
tlerner87
ok, so ive now received the NtO, here are the scans:









Ive not had any response or acknoledgement about my second informal challenge.

What is my next step? All advice is extremely gratefully received. Ive just noticed that the charge goes up 50% on 14th may.

Thanks in advance!
Glacier2
You need to appeal again against the NTO.
tlerner87
Hiya, im after a bit of help with my appeal against the NtO.

Which of the specified grounds boxes do I tick, or can i tick several? Im not sure about the technical definitions of their wording, or even of my case really! Unsure if im saying that it didnt occur or that it did and it was unfair :S

Would appreciate if anyone could take a read through this thread and help me set out my arguments, im a little confused. Some people saying that my primary argument is that the issue was that the lines werent visible, whereas some people are saying it because the car was stuck.

Sorry - im not that good at this sort of thing!



hcandersen
And your counting is off as well.

If you do not pay or make reps by 12 May then you will have to pay a minimum of £105 and you will have lost your opportunity to appeal. (28 days beginning on date of service is 12 May. Date of posting =13 April; Date of Service = 15th, which is day 1 of the period of 28 days)

So the vast majority of the time available to compile your reps has gone.

In any event all the info you need is in the threads. Contravention did not occur. It's not whether you were on the YL or not, it's whether by being there you were in breach of the traffic order and therefore committed a contravention of the Traffic Management Act. Most traffic orders create an exemption to stopping or waiting on a YL in that it is not a breach of the order if you were prevented from moving etc. You were so prevented and therefore your argument is that no breach means no contravention.

In simple language - Contravention did not occur: there was no breach of a traffic order becasue I was prevented from moving the vehicle for reasons beyond my control. Then add all relevant facts e.g. you have a res permit, you were within the last bay adjoining the yellow line; on *** you tried to move for *** reasons; all you managed to achieve was to to slip into the side of the road; you left your vehicle and made regular returns (quote the details here) to see if you could move. A key question which you should consider and only include in your reps if true is whether, when you found the PCN on your car, you were able to move it. If not, then fine. But if not also consider whether in your opinion it would have been possible to move the vehicle at the time of the contravention. If not, then include this.

Also add:
Procedural Impropriety
Nottingham City Council has no lawful authority to serve a Notice to Owner. Reg 19 of the General Regulations provides:
QUOTE
The notice to owner

19.—(1) Subject to regulation 20, where—

(a)a penalty charge notice has been served with respect to a vehicle under regulation 9; and

(b)the period of 28 days specified in the penalty charge notice as the period within which the penalty charge is to be paid has expired without that charge being paid,

the enforcement authority concerned may serve a notice (“a notice to owner”) on the person who appears to them to have been the owner of the vehicle when the alleged contravention occurred.


A contravention in respect of a "restricted street" can only occur in respect of a traffic order made by Nottinghamshire County Council who is therefore also the Enforcement Authority. As this NTO has not been issued by the Enforcement Authority it is a nullity and a procedural impropriety under the Appeals regulations.


HCA


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