The Enforcement Process Diagram (bus lane)
The Enforcement Process for an alleged bus lane contravention
Informal challenge (also known as an Informal representation)
This is basically a letter or email from you telling the local authority why you think they should cancel the PCN. It is not part of the formal appeal process although as long as you write in within 28 days nearly all local authorities will accept an informal challenge. They will consider what you say and may cancel the PCN. However, if they do not accept your informal challenge, they will normally allow you a further 14 days to pay at the reduced rate if they received your letter or email within the 14 day discount period. For this reason you should ensure that your informal challenge arrives at the local authority within 14 days. (We suggest that you check with the enforcing authority that they will preserve the discount in this way)
You can still wait for an Enforcement Notice to be served and make a formal appeal to the enforcing authority although you will have then lost the right to pay at the discounted rate.
If you want to make formal representations under the statutory grounds, then you must wait for the Enforcement Notice. We would recommend that an informal challenge (representation) is sent initially as you would still have the option of a formal representation if your informal representations are not accepted.