Parking Fines: What do you need to know?

Each year millions of motorists across the UK receive parking fines. 

Most grudge them, but ultimately pay them.

Others don’t and bin them, oblivious to the possible consequences of not paying them.

Some, believe if it is from a private firm, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.

However, did you know that Parking Fines can damage your Credit Score, see your car clamped, or in the worst case scenario, see you arrested as you travel through an airport to go on holiday?

It is worth knowing your Parking Fines.

What is the truth about Parking Fines?

There are essentially three types of Parking fines you can receive:

  • Those issued by the Police or Traffic Wardens;
  • Those issued by Local Authorities and Parking Attendants; and
  • Finally those issued by Private Firms.

Different Reasons for and Different Types of Parking Fines

There are multiple reasons why you may be issued with a parking fine. 

You may have parked on a double yellow line or in a pay and display car park and not displayed a ticket; or you may have over-stayed your welcome; or parked in a disabled parking spot.

Normally, when you park on public land, this is managed by a local authority, but you may also get a parking ticket from the Police or a Traffic Warden where you have parked illegally.  

The difference between the parking tickets you receive from the Police and Traffic Wardens and those issued by local authorities and private firms, is those those issued by Police Officers and Traffic Wardens are issued when you commit a road traffic offence, which can include a parking offence. Those issued by a local authority or a private firm are when you commit a civil wrong, rather than a criminal one.

Can Parking Fines Affect your Credit Score?

Parking Fines normally don’t affect your Credit Score. 

However, if a decree (court order) is obtained against you for a private parking charge and goes unsettled for 30 days, after it is awarded, it will be registered on your Credit Report.

It will then affect your Credit Score and impact on your ability to borrow.

Decrees (Scottish CCJs) remain on your Credit Report for 6 years.

Can your Vehicle be Clamped for a Parking Violation?

Wheel clamping has been banned in Scotland since 1992, but there are still some circumstances when your car can be clamped.

These are when you don’t pay a fine issued by the Courts, or where you park your car in or around an airport (this will normally be done by the Police, or a firm working for them).

If your vehicle is clamped, even wrongly, you should not remove the clamp yourself, but contact the Police. If you remove the clamp yourself you could find yourself charged with vandalism.

Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019

The Parking (Code of Practice) Act 2019 was passed by the UK Parliament in March 2019. It provides the Secretary of State with new powers to issue guidance to private parking firms and to issue guidance relating to fees and penalties.

As at the time of writing this article, this Code of Practice has not been produced. It will apply across the whole of the UK.


  1. Kenny

    Hi ,
    I have received a £60 parking ticket for a 5 minute overstay in a council run car park, the penalty charge notice was issued by the local authority.
    I put a ticket on my car but came back approx 6 minutes after the ticket ran out.
    Is there a grace period to allow someone upto 10 minutes for delays in getting back to their car? The ticket charge notice must have been started immediately the time was up as the issuer took 10 photographs including from the parking machine at the other side of the car park and i was back at the car as the warden turned to walk away approx 6 minutes after the ticket ran out.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Kenny

      Unfortunately, legally there is no grace period.

      It’s a cases of strict liability. The mere fact you overstayed, beyond the time the ticket allowed you to, means they can fine you.

      It will be reduced to £30 if you pay within 14 days.

      Alternatively, you may be able to appeal if you can show you have grounds.

  2. Richard


    I have been receiving letters from a private parking company that telling me that I have a fine (£160).

    I have physical and mental health problems and do not drive.

    I don’t know who was driving the vehicle when the ticket was issued.

    Would you be so kind as to advise me on this.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Richard

      Sorry for the delay in responding.

      This is a Parking Charge Notice and you can read more on them by clicking on the highlighted text.

      You say you don’t drive, but I presume you have a licence and have a car registered with the DVLA as you being the Registered Keeper?

      This is where these firms get your details, from the DVLA.

      If this is the case, there is a presumption in law you were driving car, albeit it can be rebutted, but this is usually only by providing them the details of the person that was driving car.

      You can appeal the Charge, but they are likely to ask you provide the details of who was driving the car or presume it was use.

      These fines can be enforced in Court. There is a belief they cannot, but this is not true.

      If it was taken to Court and you defended it, I would guess the Sheriff would also expect you to say who was driving it.

      Read my page on Parking Charge Notices, it will explain the appeal process and more about them.

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