How to beat a windscreen parking ticket

A windscreen ticket is the traditional parking ticket where a parking attendant has alleged you have broken the parking rules and then affixed a ticket to your car. The ticket will typically be in a yellow packet, and have Parking Charge Notice written on it. These types of ticket are seen less and less these days since operators such as ParkingEye and Smart Parking use ANPR camera technology to automatically identify breaches and issue tickets via the post.

Windscreen ticket
Windscreen ticket

The technical name for a windscreen ticket is a Notice to Driver. The term Notice to Driver is specified in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (POFA). Since private parking tickets rely on contract law, any contract exists will be between the driver and the parking company/land holder, irrespective of who owns the car. POFA legislates for the keeper of the car to be liable (known as keeper liability) for outstanding parking charges in the event that the keeper declines to name the driver at the time of the event. This was because people used to deny being the driver, and meant parking companies could not collect parking charges.

However, in order for the parking company to hold the keeper liable, they must follow a specified process, including notices sent to the keeper and the timeframes it must be served within. This is discussed in detail on this page.

If you receive a windscreen ticket, then the first thing to do is capture evidence, including a photo of the notice on the car, pictures of the car being parked, and signage in the car park. You may need to rely on these later.

Next, find the exact name of the company that issued the ticket and look up which (if any) parking operator membership scheme they are currently part of. They may either be:

  1. Not a member of any scheme
  2. A British Parking Association (BPA) Approved Operator Scheme (AOS) member – List of members here
  3. An International Parking Community (IPC) Accredited Operator Scheme member – List of members here

If they are not a member of a scheme, then it is best not to appeal at all. Members of the BPA or IPC schemes allow the parking companies to access keeper details on the DVLA database. If they are not a member, they cannot access the DVLA database. If you do not appeal, then they have no way of pursuing you for payment since they do not know your contact details.

If they are a member of the BPA scheme, then we recommend you appeal online or by email at around day 25 after the ticket was issued. In your appeal, do not admit to being the driver (or use language that indicates you were); instead appeal as the keeper of the vehicle. The reason for appealing at that time is that POFA requires that a parking company may not request your details from the DVLA before 28 days or after 56 days. Appealing this late as the keeper means they might not then issue a Notice to Keeper before day 56, meaning that they cannot enforce keeper liability. If they fail to do this, then the failure to meet the POFA requirements is a winning point at the second stage independent appeal (known as a POPLA appeal).

Further, another requirement of POFA is that the keeper details are requested from the DVLA at £2.50 a time. If the parking company accepts the offered keeper details and does not also request them from DVLA, then this would be another winning appeal point that they did not meet the requirements of POFA to enforce keeper liability. The DVLA can tell you whether your details were requested – see this piece for more details.

If they are a member of the IPC, then we suggest you ignore the Notice to Driver, and wait a month for the Notice to Keeper to arrive. The reason IPC companies are different is because the IPC appeals service routinely ignores technical arguments such as this. By waiting for the NTK, you will have cost the parking company £2.50 and also put obligations on them for data handling since they have requested your data from the DVLA.

See our POPLA appeals guide for winning your second stage appeal.