What a Bus Lane PCN must contain

What information a Bus Lane PCN must contain


You may be surprised but quite often the wording on a PCN is not compliant or the dates or timescales may be incorrect. There have been many adjudicators decisions where a motorist has had an appeal upheld, not on the grounds upon which the motorists actually appealed, but because the adjudicator has noticed a discrepancy in the PCN. Many thousands of PCN’s were said to be non compliant and not enforceable due to incorrectly worded PCN’s. There have been important test cases in Edinburgh, Bury and in Barnet in London.


Authorities are advised to seek legal advice when preparing their notices but you may find that there are some inconsistencies. Recently many hundreds of thousands of penalty charge notices were found to be invalid because they did not include the date of issue. (The date of issue is a separate requirement to the date of the contravention. Both dates must be present even if they are the same.)

Statutory instrument 2005 No 2757 specifies the information which must be included on a PCN. If a PCN has a tear off section then the required information must be included in the main body of the text and not on the tear off section. Information can be repeated on the tear off section but it must also be on the main body of the text.


You should note the following:

A Penalty charge notice must include the ‘date of issue’ or ‘date of notice’ as well as the date of the contravention even if these dates are the same. If it doesn’t then it’s invalid and not enforceable. Some tickets state the date of issue on the tear off section at the bottom which is incorrect and many thousands of tickets have been deemed unenforceable as a result of this. Click here for adjudicators cases including Moses vs Barnet council in London and the well known case in Bury.

In London, the London Local Authorities Act 1996 (amended 2000) gave London councils the powers to enforce bus lane restrictions. Whereas outside London The PCN must state “the date of service of the notice” to allow for postal service in London it must state the “date of issue” or “date of the notice”.

Some PCN’s stated “If we have not received your payment after 28 days from the date of this notice, we will send you a letter called the Notice to Owner, and you will have lost the chance to pay the reduced amount”. This wording fails to acknowledge that the driver / user of the vehicle may not be the owner and is misleading as to whom the Notice to Owner will be sent. It should say “an Enforcement Notice may be served by the council on the person appearing to be the owner of the vehicle”.

A PCN should refer to “a penalty charge” and not “a sum”  The PCN must make clear the penal nature of the obligation to pay.

with the requirements of section 4(3) of the 1996 act.”


Next: Enforcement Notice