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Is your local council using CCTV to spy on motorists and issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)?

Carlton Boyce / 15 December 2015

Check our list to see if your local council is using CCTV to spy on motorists.

CCTV camera being used by a council to issue PCNs
Check our list to see if your local council is using CCTV to issue fines and PCNs.

In these beleaguered times it might not surprise you to know that motorists have paid more than £182 million in fines since 2012 for a variety of offences, including driving in bus lanes, stopping in yellow box junctions, and committing an illegal u-turn.

What might surprise you is that it is local councils, using CCTV cameras to spy on motorists, that have issued these fines – and the first these drivers will know of it is when the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) lands on their doormat.

Six obscure motoring laws you may not be aware of...

Is this legal?

Yes, it is. And it’s on the rise; the number of CCTV cameras used for traffic offence enforcement has risen by 76% since 2012, a year in which just 25 councils were issuing fines using them.

How many cameras are we talking about?

There are believed to be 768 active CCTV cameras across the UK, whose only role is to monitor, and collect evidence of, motoring offences. Wandsworth Council leads the pack, with 122 CCTV cameras devoted to traffic offence monitoring.

Can you really be fined for hogging the middle lane? Find out more...

Which authority leads the league table in income raised through PCNs?

Glasgow City Council has raked in over £4 million in fines in 2015 already, having issued 131,238 PCNs.

Ealing Council closely follows it with £3 million in fines and 57,167 PCNs, while the London Borough of Lambeth is in third place with fines worth £2.9 million and 62,891 PCNs.

How much is a Penalty Charge Notice?

A typical PCN is for £60, a sum that is halved to £30 if it is paid within 14 days.

However, unlike Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) issued by the police, no penalty points can be attached to your driving licence via a PCN.

Find out more about the petrol and rings scam which targets motorists on motorways and slip roads.

Can I appeal against a Penalty Charge Notice?

Yes, of course. You have 28 days to start an appeal, but we’d advise doing so within 14 days. If you do so, you will still qualify for the discounted fine, even if your appeal is rejected.

This initial appeal is called an ‘informal challenge’ and is made by writing to the authority that issued the PCN giving the grounds for your appeal. You should also enclose photocopies of any parking tickets or Blue Badges that you think make you exempt from the fine. You can also appeal online against a PCN.

If the informal challenge is successful then the fine will be cancelled. If it is unsuccessful you will be issued with a ‘Notice to Owner’ with instructions on how to pay the fine or launch a formal appeal.

Beware of criminals operating in supermarket car parks.

But I wasn’t even in that city!

The rise in the use of CCTV cameras by local authorities and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras by the police has led to an increase in the number of cloned cars on the road. Our article about car cloning scams tells you how to deal with any tickets that have been incorrectly issued to you as a result of cloning.

Is my local council using CCTV cameras to issue Penalty Charge Notices?

The following councils are using CCTV cameras to monitor traffic offences and issue fines:

Aberdeen City Council

Barnet Borough Council

Bedford Borough Council

Birmingham City Council

Bournemouth Council

Bury City Council

Cardiff Council

City and County of Swansea

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

City of London

City of Westminster

Coventry City Council

Ealing Council

Enfield Council

Essex County Council

Glasgow City Council

Hackney Council


Hillingdon Council

Islington Council

Kingston Upon Thames

Lewisham Council

Liverpool City Council

London Borough of Bexley

London Borough Of Havering

London Borough of Hounslow

London Borough of Lambeth

London Borough of Merton

London Borough of Waltham Forest

Medway Council

Middlesbrough Council

Nottingham City Council

Oldham Council

Oxfordshire County Council

Plymouth City Council

Rochdale Borough Council


Sheffield City Council

Somerset County Council

South Tyneside Council

Staffordshire County Council

Sunderland Council

Swindon Borough Council

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Walsall Council

Wandsworth Council

Wolverhampton City Council

For more useful tips and information, browse our motoring articles. 

*Research and FOI requests courtesy of


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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.