You don't have to pay for parking tickets

There are strict rules that councils must adhere to when administering parking fines. If any of these regulations are broken then you could be entitled to a refund on your parking ticket.

Tear up your parking ticket

You can tear the ticket up in, disgust, meekly contribute to the £2 billion councils make from parking charges every year—or you can appeal. You may have grounds, because many parking signs are plain wrong. “They must look exactly as set down in law unless the council has obtained special authorisation,” says transport consultant Richard Bentley. Five London councils now face repaying £5 million to motorists fined for parking in “unauthorised” bays, so check the following before you drive off in a fury. If any apply, write to the council within 14 days. Most appeals succeed, so it’s worth doing.


Things to look out for:

  • Photograph road markings, parking signs and anything obscuring them. Check Bentley’s website,
  • There should be one sign every 30 metres in parking bays and one on every lamp post by a single yellow line, unless you’re in a controlled parking zone.
  • Don’t expect to find parking signs inside a controlled parking zone, common in town centres. But there must be signs warning that you’re entering the zone on every access road.
  • A single yellow line must end in a T-shape unless it joins a pedestrian crossing or parking bay.
  • The parking bay should be 1.8 metres wide, plus or minus ten per cent.
  • Privately owned car parks make up their own rules, but they should be “reasonable”. Appeal to the British Parking Association (, 01444 447 300) if they’re not.
  • If you buy a parking ticket, keep it as proof of payment. “You never know what nasty surprise might plop through your letter box,” says Bentley.