Ground of appeal – bus lane Penalty Charge Notices (England)

Below are the only grounds (reasons) on which an adjudicator can instruct the council to cancel a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

Don’t worry if you don’t know which ground applies, the adjudicator can decide if a particular ground applies.

The alleged contravention did not occur

 For example:

  • the signs and lines were wrong
  • the vehicle was permitted to be in the bus lane
  • the vehicle was not in the bus lane

The penalty exceeded the amount that applied in the circumstances

This means the council have asked for more than they are entitled to under the relevant regulations.

For bus-lane penalties issued in England (outside London) the cost of a penalty is £60. This is reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days.

The police are already taking action


  • the alleged contravention is the subject of criminal proceeding
  • a Fixed Penalty Notice (this is different to a penalty charge notice) has been issued for the same incident.

You did not own the vehicle when the alleged contravention occurred

 For example:

  • you never owned it
  • you sold it before or bought it after the date of the contravention – you must say what you know about the transaction including the new or former owner’s name and address, if known
  • it was under a long-term leasing arrangement that transfers ‘keepership’ from the registered keeper to the hirer.

Find out more about owner liability here

The owner is a vehicle hire firm


• the vehicle was on hire under a qualifying hiring agreement, and

• the hirer had signed a statement of liability for any penalty charge notice issued during the hire period.

This ground applies only to formal hire agreements where the hirer has signed an agreement accepting liability for penalty charges. The requirements are specific. You can see them here: Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic (Owner Liability) Regulations 2000 and here: Section 66 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. You should provide the hirer’s name and address and a copy of the agreement.

I am/ We were the hirer of the vehicle at the time but the hire agreement does NOT make us liable for the penalty

 This applies where the penalty was served on you on the basis that the vehicle was on hire under an agreement which placed liability on the hirer but that there is no such agreement.

When the alleged contravention occured, the vehicle was kept by a trader

 This applies if, although the you owned the vehicle at the time, the vehicle was kept by a vehicle dealer, auctioneer, scrap yard, insurer or had been repossessed.

The vehicle was taken without the owners consent

 This ground covers stolen vehicles and vehicles used without the owner’s consent. It could apply, for example, to a vehicle taken by ‘joyriders’. It does not generally apply to vehicles in the care of a garage or borrowed by a relative or friend. If possible, you should supply a crime reference number from the police.