DRIVERS who are slapped with a parking ticket at the airport may not always have to pay it.

This is because a number of Britain’s major airports are privately owned, meaning their car parks and drop-off points are on private land.

 A number of airport car parks are on private land, which means tickets aren't always enforceable
A number of airport car parks are on private land, which means tickets aren’t always enforceable

Parking tickets issued on private land by independent companies aren’t always enforceable.

Councils and police are the only bodies with an official right to fine you and they can issue a Penalty Charge Notice, Excess Charge Notice or Fixed Penalty Notice – which you normally have to pay.

But if you are given a Parking Charge Notice from a private firm, you don’t necessarily have to fork out for it.

According to a report by Airports Council International, more than half of the UK’s airports are now privately owned, including major international locations like Heathrow, Gatwick, Southampton, Aberdeen and Glasgow.

 Private companies often make their tickets look similar to penalty notices

Alamy

Private companies often make their tickets look similar to penalty notices
 Drivers are often hit with fines in airport drop-off areas
Drivers are often hit with fines in airport drop-off areas

Airports will often employ private firms to enforce parking rules and short stay periods, especially in “no stopping” or “drop-off” zones.

So drivers slapped with a ticket in these areas might have a better chance of getting out of it if they think it’s unfair and appeal.

Private companies aren’t allowed to use the word “penalty” when issuing a ticket and any notice is simply an invoice for services used rather than a fine.

In most cases, the only way they can force you to pay is by taking you to the small claims court.


SPOT THE DIFFERENCE How to challenge unfair private parking tickets – the difference between a penalty charge notice and a parking charge notice


And if the cost of your ticket is less than their court fees, it’s unlikely they will bother taking it that far.

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Most of the big, private car park operators are part of a trade body such as the British Parking Association (BPA) or International Parking Community (IPC).

The Parking on Private Land Appeals (Popla) was set up by the BPA – and if Popla agrees with the driver during an appeal, the charge is cancelled.

If the driver’s appeal is refused, the company can carry on seeking payment and ultimately has the option of taking the vehicle owner to the small claims court.

However, drivers have been forced to pay private fees for large amounts of money in court.

A driver in Scotland was taken to court and ordered to pay £24,500 worth of private tickets for parking at Dundee’s Waterfront without a permit, because she believed they were unenforceable.

A private firm would certainly chase a substantial amount of money in court, but for a single ticket it’s far more likely the charge would be cancelled.

So next time you receive a parking ticket at the airport, make sure to check what type it is and who issued it.

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If it’s a Parking Charge Notice from a private company, you could have a good chance of getting out of it.





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