Drivers can avoid huge costs from parking fines with little-known legal loophole


If a driver has overstayed their welcome by just a few minutes in a council-run car park in England, they shouldn’t get a parking ticket. A grace period exists which allows drivers a 10-minute window to get back to their car after their ticket has expired.

The 10-minute grace period was introduced by the Government on April 6, 2015.

Since then, drivers have been able to avoid the fines if they overstay by up to 10 minutes.

This is on the condition they parked in regulated street spaces or on car parks run by councils.

The Department of Transport advises that any Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) issued within the 10-minute grace period is illegal.

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It states: “No penalty charge is payable for the contravention where the vehicle has been left beyond the permitted parking period for a period not exceeding 10 minutes.”

The grace period only applies in England and only in regulated on-street parking bays or in a car park run by the council.

This is also only the case if the driver has parked properly, has the ticket in the correct place and expired less than 10 minutes ago.

It does not apply in council car parks in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, or in private car parks which have their own enforcement rules.

That meant it was a postcode lottery as to whether or not they would get a fine for being a few minutes late.

Since the Government brought in an official grace period, drivers have had a small degree of leeway and a legal option to challenge a ticket.

Edmund King, AA President, said: “There wouldn’t have been a need for central Government to interfere if all local authorities had exercised the discretionary approach to parking enforcement of old. 

“Parking tickets were supposed to be a deterrent to bad behaviour, not a fines harvest.”

This comes as the British Parking Association (BPA) are calling for a cap on fines to be raised to £120, from the current cap of £100 on privately run car parks.

However, Government ministers are calling for the cap to be reduced to £50, branding the proposals for a price rise “crazy”.



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