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Pay or appeal a bus lane Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)

The penalty for driving in a bus lane is £70, reduced to £35 if paid within 21 days. The authority will use number-plate recognition cameras to discourage illicit use of the lanes, with Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) being issued to offenders through the post.


The enforcement of bus lanes is carried out by a static approved camera. The camera takes a recording of all vehicles using the bus lane. After identifying vehicles not allowed to use the bus lane, an evidence pack is assembled and a PCN is issued by post. A PCN will be issued on any vehicle considered to be using the bus lane when they are not permitted to.

Parking is not allowed in a bus lane even with a Blue (disabled) Badge when the bus lanes are in operation.

Where enforcement is implemented:

  • Drapery, Northampton town centre (bus only street) – hours of operation 24/7


A bus lane contravention penalty charge is £70, reduced to £35 if paid with 21 days.

Failure to pay within 28 days of the date of service of the PCN (deemed to be 2 working days after posting), may lead to further increases in the PCN amount, debt registration and ultimately enforcement.

How to pay

When paying:

  • you should not make payment if you wish to challenge further because payment is acceptance of liability. By making payment you are therefore admitting the ticket was right. Payment will close the case and no further communication will be considered
  • if you are paying more than one penalty charge please ensure you enter each PCN number individually
  • we do not accept payment by instalments, cash or by Visa Electron or American Express. Please see below for more information relating to our policy on instalment plans and the reasons why we do not accept these

Pay online

Pay by telephone

Call our 24-hour automated line on 0345 680 0153 (option 5).

Pay by post

Please ensure:

  • you quote the PCN number on the back of the cheque or postal order
  • you allow 2 working days for 1st class post and 5 working days for 2nd class post
  • if you would like a receipt, you should enclose a stamped addressed envelope

To pay by cheque or postal order, please make it payable to West Northamptonshire Council and post to the following address:

Traffic Enforcement Team
The Guildhall
St Giles Square

Appealing against a PCN

If you think you have been wrongly penalised, you can appeal against the notice on the following grounds:

  • the alleged contravention did not occur
  • the recipient
    • never was the owner of the vehicle in question
    • had ceased to be its owner before the alleged contravention occurred, or
    • became its owner after the alleged contravention occurred
  • at the time of the alleged contravention occurred, the vehicle in question was in the control of a person who did not have the consent of the owner
  • the recipient is a vehicle-hire firm and
    • the vehicle in question was at the material time hire from that firm under a hiring agreement, and
    • the person hiring it had signed a statement of liability acknowledging their liability in respect of any penalty charge notice served in respect of any relevant road traffic contravention involving the vehicle during the currency of the hiring agreement
  • the penalty charge exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances of the case
  • there has been a procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority
  • the order which is alleged to have been contravened in relation to the vehicle concerned, except where it is an order to which Part 6 of Schedule 9 to the RTRA 1984 applies, is invalid
  • the enforcement notice should not have been served because-(i) the penalty charge has already been paid in full, or(ii) the penalty charge has been paid, reduced by the amount of any discount set in accordance with Schedule 9 to the TMA 2004, by the applicable date as specified in paragraph 1(3) of Schedule 3 to the 2022 General Regulations.

You may not appeal your penalty if:

  • you have paid it as this closes the case and no longer allows you to appeal
  • you have received a Charge Certificate as by this time it will be too late to appeal

Be aware that failing to pay a PCN could result in your local authority taking action against you.

You will not receive points on your licence for a PCN.

Representations against a PCN

If you choose a representation path:

  • there are specific grounds on which a representation can be made and details are given on the PCN - Our Enforcement Protocol gives further details of representations and also mitigating circumstances
  • when your representation is received, an experienced Officer who is employed by the council will consider it - They will decide if there are grounds to cancel the PCN and you will be notified in writing of the decision
  • for PCNs issued from 31 May 2022, there is now a Statutory timeframe to respond within 56 days of receipt of your representations
  • for PCNs issued up to and including 30 May 2022, there is no statutory requirement and a response will be issued as soon as we can
  • if your representation is rejected we will advise you on how to appeal to an Adjudicator

Appeal to a Parking Adjudicator

If using a Parking Adjudicator:

  • if you are the registered keeper of the vehicle and have made a formal representation, which has been rejected by the council, you have the right to appeal to an Adjudicator within 28 days of service of the Notice of Rejection
  • an Adjudicator is an experienced lawyer and is independent of the council - The decision of the Adjudicator is final and both parties (you and the council) must adhere to the decision made
  • you can find out more about a Parking Adjudicator by visiting the Traffic Penalty Tribunal website
  • the council is also a member of the Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL) Adjudication Joint Committee - The Joint Committee publishes an Annual Statement of Accounts which is subject to External Audit
  • if you decide to appeal to the adjudication service, the full amount is payable if your case is dismissed

How to appeal


If you have received a PCN through the post you can appeal online and view related evidence. But by doing so, we will accept this as your proper consent to respond by email. Please always check your junk folder as our responses are sent using a ‘donotreply’ mailbox. You can add [email protected] to your safe senders list so that you don’t miss our response. You must challenge each case individually by inputting each unique PCN number.

If you have received an Order for Recovery of unpaid penalty charge then you can no longer appeal to the local authority. You must complete the Witness Statement and return it directly to the Traffic Enforcement Centre.

For PCNs issued up to and including 30 May 2022 the form you will need to complete if appealing further is a Statutory Declaration.

Write to us

Please provide as much information as you can to support your reasons why the PCN should be cancelled.

While we endeavour to respond to all bus lane correspondence received within 21 days, this is not always possible.

If your representations were made within 21 days of the date of Service/Notice on the PCN we may give you a further 14 days from the date of our response letter to pay the reduced charge of £35 (PCNs issued from 31 May 2022). For PCNs issued before this date the reduced charge is £30 if representations were made within 14 days.

Under the new Regulations effective 31 May 2022, we have 56 days to consider your case and notify you of the decision in writing. This time limit does not apply to PCNs issued up to and including 30 May 2022.

Please send your appeal to:

Traffic Enforcement Team
The Guildhall
St Giles Square

Public authorities such as a local authority, must take steps to remove the barriers you face because of your disability when they carry out their work. The Equality Act 2010 calls this the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

A local authority has a duty to make reasonable adjustments if:

  • You are disadvantaged by something because of your disability, and
  • It is reasonable to make the changes to remove the disadvantage.

What is meant by 'reasonable'

Adjustments only have to be made if it's reasonable to do so. This depends on things like:

  • your disability
  • its practicality
  • if the change you ask for would overcome the disadvantage you and other disabled people experience
  • the size of the organisation
  • the resources it would require
  • the cost of making the changes
  • if any changes have already been made

Penalty Charge Notices (parking and bus lane PCNs)

Whilst we have a policy in place to request all challenges and representations in writing or via the online appeals portal, we are aware that this is not always possible. If our officers feel (or are advised) that additional assistance is required then we will make reasonable adjustments where possible to suit your needs.

Examples of these reasonable adjustments include but not limited to:

  • A mutually convenient telephone appointment where you can dictate your challenge/representation to an officer;
  • A pre-booked face to face meeting (in exceptional circumstances) at One Angel Square, Northampton where you can dictate your challenge or representation; and
  • 3rd party liaison acting on your behalf, providing authority has been received from you, to discuss and deal with the case as your representative.

Refusing a request for reasonable adjustments

If we reject your request for an adjustment to be made, we will explain this decision to you, the factors that have been taken into account and may suggest alternatives which will be given the same level of consideration as the original request.

We made a decision not to allow payment of PCNs by instalment for the following reasons:

  • the cost of administering the system
  • many customers who had been allowed instalment plans failed to adhere to them
  • only short term instalments could be allowed to keep within the statutory PCN timescales
  • current legislation states that in order for a case to be closed, full payment must be made within certain timescales - This does not provide the motorist with the opportunity to settle a case other than that stated within the legislation and those seeking instalment plans often wish to do so over a longer period than could be allowed.
  • payment arrangements could not be allowed during the discounted period as legislation states that the discounted period only lasts for 21 days
  • the deterrent of a PCN may be compromised if small repayments, or long term payment arrangements, are accepted

Last updated 20 May 2024