Guidelines for the issue, enforcement and cancellation of Penalty Charge Notices by Portsmouth City Council for Bus Lane contraventions.

1. Introduction

The Council has introduced bus lane enforcement cameras for the purposes of improving public transport. All bus lanes in Portsmouth may, from time to time, be subject to enforcement action by the council using camera technology.
If an unauthorised vehicle is in a bus lane, or ‘bus only’ street, it will be committing an offence and the vehicle keeper may be sent a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

Cameras will recognise vehicles by using automatic number plate recognition technology, with the registration numbers of exempt vehicles logged within the system.

Where unauthorised drivers are caught either driving or parking in bus lanes, or driving through bus gates, the registered keeper of the vehicle (as confirmed by the DVLA) will receive a Penalty Charge Notice of £70 (Bus Lane PCNs issued before 31 May 2022 were £60), discounted to £35 (50% of charge) if paid within 21 days or an increase to £105 if not paid within 28 days. These rates are subject to legislative change.

If a Penalty Charge Notice is issued, the keeper will have the choice of paying the charge or making a representation against its issue.

2. Payment of Penalty Charge

The keeper will have 21 days from the date the Notice is served (this is presumed to be two working days from the date of the issue of the Notice) to pay at the discounted rate, 50% of the Penalty Charge. If payment is not received by the council within that time, the chance to pay at the reduced rate will be lost and the full amount will become payable.

Payment will close the Notice and no further correspondence will be sent.

If payment is not received within 28 days, the amount outstanding will be increased by 50% and a Charge Certificate issued.  If the charge remains unpaid then the council may, if a county court so orders, recover this increased charge as if it were payable under a county court order. This may involve issuing a warrant to an Enforcement Agent (formerly called bailiffs) and additional fees incurred as a result of recovering the debt will also be payable.

3. Representations/Appeals against the Penalty Charge Notice

Representations against a bus lane Penalty Charge Notice can be made online or in writing by post.

Footage of the alleged contraventions will be available for viewing.

3.1 The statutory grounds* which, if proved, must be accepted by the Council are:

(a) the alleged contravention did not occur;

 For example:
· the signs and lines in the bus lane were wrong.
· the vehicle was permitted to be in the bus lane.
· the vehicle was not in the bus lane.

(b) the recipient—
(i) never was the owner of the vehicle in question,
(ii) had ceased to be its owner before the alleged contravention occurred, or
(iii) became its owner after the alleged contravention occurred;
Evidence of when and to whom the vehicle was sold/purchased from must be provided

(c) at the time that the alleged contravention occurred, the vehicle in question was in the control of a person who did not have the consent of the owner;
This ground covers stolen vehicles and vehicles used without the owner’s consent. It could apply, for example, to a vehicle taken by “joy-riders”. It does not generally apply to vehicles in the possession of a garage or borrowed by a relative or friend. The appellant should supply a Crime Reference Number from the police.

(d) the recipient is a vehicle-hire firm and—
(i) the vehicle in question was at the material time hired from that firm under a hiring agreement, and
(ii) 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;
Details of who the vehicle has been hired to must be provided, along with a copy of the hire agreement

(e) the penalty charge exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances of the case;
This means that the city council has asked for more than it was entitled to under the relevant Regulations.

(f) there has been a procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority;
For example the Council has not followed the correct process under the relevant Regulations

(g) 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;
For example you believe the Traffic Regulation Order is not correct


There are compelling reasons why, in the particular circumstances of the case, the enforcement authority should cancel the penalty charge and refund any sum paid to it on account of the penalty charge.  Examples where this may apply are listed below:-

a. Where the vehicle has broken down. Ideally the owner should provide an engineer’s invoice or statement from the removal organisation. If the driver carried out repairs himself a receipt from the motor shop detailing parts in question should be provided. The vehicle should not be left for an excessive period and its removal is the responsibility of the owner.
b. Where the driver/passenger is ill. The owner should provide a letter from their own or the passenger’s doctor either confirming that they have a medical condition that can result in the need for urgent stops or that such an incident is known to have happened on the date and time.
c. Due to actions of other road users. Where the driver is forced into the bus lane to prevent an accident.
d. Emergency Response. When the driver assists during an emergency situation. Documentary evidence will be required.

3.2 Appeals to an independent adjudicator. If the city council rejects the representation then the appellant has the opportunity to make an appeal to the independent adjudication service. Full details of how to do this are provided at the appropriate time.

4. Discretion in Enforcement

Portsmouth City Council staff will exercise discretion in the enforcement of bus lane contraventions. Each case will be considered on an individual basis taking all circumstances into account.



*Bus Lane Penalty Charge Notices with a contravention date before 31 May 2022 have different grounds for representation, the relevant grounds will be detailed on the Penalty Charge Notice that you have been sent. For more details please contact the parking team at