Contravention Code 17

This is our step by step guide on what to do if you have received a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) for entering the congestion charge zone without paying.

If you have received a congestion charge ticket (penalty charge notice) You have two options.


1. Accept that you knowingly committed a contravention (offence) and pay the PCN within 14 days in order to receive a 50% discount. If you pay the ticket you will lose your right to appeal and the case will be closed.


2. Make informal or formal representations.



Tip If your representation is not accepted by transport for London they will usually allow you a further 14 days to pay at the reduced rate.

If you are going to appeal the following should be of some help to you.

Your letter to the enforcing authority.

Firstly you should state the facts and your letter should be no longer than absolutely necessary. You should remember that the person who reads your letter may well have discretion to cancel your PCN.  It may not be helpful therefore to vent your anger or make threats.  You should place yourself in the position of the person who will be reading your letter. Photographs, diagrams, witness statements and maps can be extremely helpful. Always send copies and keep the originals of any attachments. You should also keep a copy of your letter to Transport for London.  Also remember to include the date and the number of the pcn in any correspondence. You can also make representations by telephone.



General Checklist:

Firstly please check “statutory grounds for appeal” below. This shows the grounds upon which you may appeal. Most people will tick the ground. “No penalty charge is payable under the charging scheme e.g. I was not within the charging area during charging hours or the correct signs weren’t in place. If in doubt click this ground.

Remember: it is for you to prove that you meet any of these grounds.

Ground one: I was not the keeper at the time of the contravention e.g. I have never been the keeper, I ceased to be the keeper, I became the keeper after the date of the contravention

Ground two: I had paid the Congestion Charge due for the vehicle used on that date, in the time and manner required by the charging scheme

Ground three: No penalty charge is payable under the charging scheme e.g. I was not within the charging area during charging hours

Ground four: The vehicle was used or kept without my consent e.g. stolen

Ground five: The penalty charge exceeds the amount payable in the circumstances of the case, e.g. I have been requested to pay a penalty charge amount above that detailed in the regulations

Ground six: We are a vehicle hire firm and the vehicle was hired under an agreement at the time and the person liable signed a statement of liability for any resulting penalty charges


Mitigation and discretion

If none of the six grounds are applicable you may still make a Representation to TfL, explaining your circumstances. They say they will consider mitigating circumstances and in reaching any decision will always consider the use of their discretion.



Possible defences if you are issued with a penalty charge notice for failing to pay the charge.

1) Firstly the enforcement system relies on license plate details held at the DVLA. Many people have received a penalty charge notice when they were no where near London at the time! This can happen for a number of reasons. However if your vehicle wasn’t in the congestion charge then obviously you must appeal.


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