Bus Lane appeals and payments

Bus Lanes keep our county moving, giving priority to buses so they can avoid traffic congestion. This makes bus travel more attractive, improves reliability and reduces journey times. It also encourages people to make cycle journeys along the routes with the lanes being relatively safe with lighter traffic.

We are committed to improving public transport across the county, reducing the number of cars on our road network and making the county’s air cleaner as a result.

Enforcement starts on Monday 1 February 2021 but during the first week warning notices will be issued to those who flout the rules to act as a warning.

The authority will use number-plate recognition cameras to discourage illicit use of the lanes, with fines being issued to offenders through the post.

Bus lanes

Bus priority measures include traffic lanes or sections of the street solely for use by buses or taxis and certain specifically exempt vehicles, which other vehicles are not permitted to use.

These may be in the form of:

  • bus lanes
  • bus gates
  • bus only streets

Collectively these are called 'bus lanes'.

Hours of operation may be at all times or at specified hours and/or days as shown on road signs. If no times are given, the bus lane is operational 24 hours a day.

Where is enforcement implemented?

  • Drapery, Northampton town centre (bus only street) – hours of operation 24/7
  • Weedon Road / St James’ Road, Northampton (bus lane) – hours of operation 24/7
  • Market Street, Wellingborough town centre (bus gate) - hours of operation 9am to 4.30pm Monday - Saturday

Cost

A bus lane contravention penalty charge is £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

Failure to pay within 28 days of the date of service of the PCN (deemed to be two working days after posting), may lead to further increases in the PCN amount, debt registration and ultimately enforcement.

How to pay

  • If you want to challenge a PCN, do not pay it. If you do, we will close the case and that will be the end of it
  • If you are paying more than one penalty charge please ensure that you enter each PCN number individually
  • We do not accept payment by instalments, cash or by Visa Electron or American Express. Please see below for more information relating to our policy on instalment plans and the reasons why we do not accept these.

Online

Pay by credit or debit card using our online payments system:

Pay your fine online

Telephone

Call our 24-hour automated line on 0345 6800153 (option 5).

Pay by post

  • Please ensure that you quote the PCN number on the back of the cheque or postal order
  • Allow 2 working days for 1st class post and 5 working days for 2nd class post
  • If you would like a receipt, please enclose a stamped addressed envelope

To pay by cheque or postal order, please make payable to West Northamptonshire  Council and post to the following address:  

Parking Services
One Angel Square
Angel Street     
Northampton
NN1 1ED

How to appeal

Online

Click on the link below to make representations if you have received a PCN through the post. You can also view evidence relating to your PCN. You must challenge each case individually by inputting each unique PCN number.

If you have received an Order for Recovery of unpaid penalty charge (Form PE2) then you can no longer appeal to the local authority. You must complete the Statutory Declaration (Form PE3) and return it directly to the Traffic Enforcement Centre.

Appeal a bus lane fine

Write to us

Please provide as much information as you can to support your reasons why the PCN should be cancelled.

Whilst the Council endeavour to respond to all bus lane correspondence received within 21 days, this is not always possible.

If your representations were made within 14 days of the Date of Service/Notice on the PCN then we will give you a further 14 days from the date of our response letter to pay the reduced charge of £30

Please send your appeal to:

Parking Services
One Angel Square
Angel Street
Northampton
NN1 1ED

Further information

​There are specific grounds on which a representation can be made and details are given on the PCN. Our Enforcement Protocol gives further details of representations and also mitigating circumstances.

When your representation is received, an experienced Officer who is employed by the council will consider it. They will decide if there are grounds to cancel the PCN. You will be notified in writing of the decision. There is no statutory timeframe for a response but our aim is to respond within 21 days, however this may not always be possible.

If your representation is rejected we will advise you on how to appeal to an Adjudicator.

If you are the registered keeper of the vehicle and have made a formal representation, which has been rejected by the council, you have the right to appeal to an Adjudicator within 28 days of service of the Notice of Rejection.

An Adjudicator is an experienced lawyer and is independent of the council. The decision of the Adjudicator is final and both parties (you and the council) must adhere to the decision made.

You can find out more about a Parking Adjudicator by visiting the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website.

The council is also a member of the Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL) Adjudication Joint Committee. The Joint Committee publishes an Annual Statement of Accounts which is subject to External Audit.

If you decide to appeal to the adjudication service, the full amount is payable if your case is dismissed.

Public authorities such as a local authority, must take steps to remove the barriers you face because of your disability when they carry out their work. The Equality Act 2010 calls this the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

A local authority has a duty to make reasonable adjustments if:

  • You are disadvantaged by something because of your disability, and
  • It is reasonable to make the changes to remove the disadvantage.

What is meant by 'reasonable'

Adjustments only have to be made if it's reasonable to do so. This depends on things like:

  • your disability
  • its practicality
  • if the change you ask for would overcome the disadvantage you and other disabled people experience
  • the size of the organisation
  • the resources it would require
  • the cost of making the changes
  • if any changes have already been made

Penalty Charge Notices (parking fines)

Whilst we have a policy in place to request all challenges and representations in writing, we are aware that this is not always possible. If our officers feel (or are advised) that additional assistance is required then we will make reasonable adjustments where possible to suit your needs.

Examples of these reasonable adjustments include but not limited to:

  • A mutually convenient telephone appointment where you can dictate your challenge/representation to an officer;
  • A pre-booked face to face meeting (in exceptional circumstances) at One Angel Square, Northampton where you can dictate your challenge or representation; and
  • 3rd party liaison acting on your behalf, providing authority has been received from you, to discuss and deal with the case as your representative.

Parking permits

Whilst there is an application or renewal process in place via West Northamptonshire Council's website or by post, we are aware that this does not suit everybody and if our officers feel (or are advised) that additional assistance is required then we will look to make reasonable adjustments where possible to help you.

Examples of these reasonable adjustments include but are not limited to:

  • A mutually convenient telephone appointment where you can make your application or renewal verbally. However, the call may need to be recorded depending on your disability as the recording may need to act as your signature confirming that you agree to the terms and conditions of the scheme;
  • A pre-booked face to face meeting (in exceptional circumstances) at One Angel Square, Northampton where you can apply/renew in person. However if you are unable to provide a signature then your usual mark will need to be witnessed as your acceptance of the terms and conditions of the scheme; and
  • 3rdt party liaison acting on your behalf, providing authority has been received from you, to apply or renew your permit as your representative. We would agree in this instance a way of arranging for the terms and conditions to be signed by you as acceptance.

The local authority will cover the costs of all reasonable adjustments.

Refusing a request for reasonable adjustments

If we reject your request for an adjustment to be made, we will explain this decision to you, the factors that have been taken into account and may suggest alternatives which will be given the same level of consideration as the original request.

The council has made a decision not to allow payment of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) by instalment for the following reasons:

  • The cost of administering the system: officers spent a disproportionate amount of time arranging instalments plans, monitoring payments and chasing late payments;
  • Many customers who had been allowed instalment plans failed to adhere to them;
  • Only short term instalments could be allowed to keep within the statutory PCN timescales;
  • The legislation under which enforcement is undertaken is the Traffic Management Act 2004 (parking) and The Bus Lane Contraventions (Penalty Charges, Adjudication and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2005 and the Transport Act 2000 (bus lanes) clearly states that in order for a case to be closed, full payment must be made within certain timescales. This legislation does not provide the motorist with the opportunity to settle a case over any period of time other than that stated within the legislation. It is the Council's experience that those seeking instalment plans wish to do so over a longer period than could be allowed under the legislation;
  • Payment arrangements could not be allowed during the discounted period as legislation states that the discounted period only lasts for 14 days; and
  • A PCN is a penalty issued to deter motorists from parking in contravention of the regulations/restrictions. The deterrent may be compromised if small repayments, or long term payment arrangements, are accepted in settlement of such notices.