27 January 2022

Traffic management in Burnt Oak and Colindale

Barnet Council is consulting on proposed measures to reduce through traffic on two residential roads in Burnt Oak and Colindale. Mr Mustard isn't offering any opinion on the desirability of the scheme, merely informing you that you can make your views known until 31 January on this link.

Barnet Council: Burnt Oak and Colindale Consultion Document Final 2021 by MisterMustard on Scribd

The map isn't very good so hopefully this one will let you more readily identify the affected roads, Booth Road and The Greenway. The Greenway is to the west of Silkstream Park.

Mr Mustard isn't a fan of some 'no motor vehicles' restrictions which are enforced by computerised camera as they make life too difficult for people with legitimate business in the area, such as food and parcel delivery drivers, social workers, taxi drivers, volunteer drivers who take people to hospital appointments and family who want to visit granny etc.

The system that Barnet Council plan to use, which is already in use in other boroughs, such as at Strand on the Green in Chiswick, lets you enter the road and stay to carry out your business, it also doesn't hinder the emergency services as the road won't be narrowed (although the absence of planters doesn't give you a clue that there are new signs you may have missed) and provided you are there for longer than the time which is chosen to reflect the journey time if you don't stop, then you can still access the area without risking a PCN.

In Chiswick, that time may be 4 minutes but each location will be fact dependent.

The Traffic Management Order doesn't actually set a minimum time that you can safely enter the restricted area for, so Hounslow Council are using their judgment that if you are longer than 4 minutes (or whatever time they have set the cameras to) you definitely needed access, you weren't just passing through very slowly. Do look out for the 'flying motorbike' signs everywhere and don't pass them without being sure you are exempt.

That's Mr Mustard's green bicycle which is being replaced with a new one and will be sold on ebay with all the proceeds going to the North London Hospice.


The 'consultion' spelling error in the document name is not Mr Mustard's but doesn't matter, it merely identifies a document.

Due adjustment: #12 Hackney Council


Mr Mustard gives Hackney 7 out of 10. The Freedom of Information response makes you think, at first blush, that everything is perfect, but on closer inspection it isn't.

Firstly in the how to challenge section of the PCN it doesn't state that you can challenge by phone.

Elsewhere on the PCN it says you can phone 020 8356 8877 to make an enquiry or obtain information (no mention of challenging it)

That paragragh doesn't make clear that you can also phone to make oral representations so why would you try?

The website doesn't mention the ability to make oral representations in the first section you would check.

but further down there is better information

The contact centre number the link takes you to is 020 8356 8877.

The PCN needs to be amended (Mr Mustard had one from September 21) to make it clear to the recipient that one can make oral representations.

Please, if you help someone who can't write, do try phoning and let Mr Mustard know the outcome.


26 January 2022

Due adjustment: #11 Greenwich (Royal borough of)


This is a rather begrudging acknowledgement that Greenwich will, if push comes to shove, accept oral representations.

The snag, as so often, is that the receipient of a PCN isn't given the number to phone on a PCN placed on their car, it isn't on the website, the service centre seems only to accept bookings by online reservation and Mr Mustard wasn't given the number in this response. If the recipient of a PCN lives outside of Greenwich having to go to the Service Centre in Woolwich isn't of great help. The willingness of the service centre to help is laudable but making the disabled travel is sub-optimal.

Mr Mustard can only suggest that the person wanting help rings the main number for the council which is 020 8854 8888 explains what is required and they might, just might, get a phone call returned.

Another council not getting 10 out of 10, only a 6.


Due adjustment: #10 Enfield Council

The parking manager at Enfield Council is always helpful & courteous to Mr Mustard but not, apparently, quite so helpful to the disabled who cannot write.

Mr Mustard is a bit confused by the response as the telephone number he has been furnished with appears to be a text phone and Mr Mustard wanted a number that people who cannot write (or text) can phone.

It is possible that the text phone also takes spoken calls? (Mr Mustard not knowing about them) perhaps you know of a disabled person who can't write and who has an Enfield PCN who could test it for Mr Mustard and report back.

It would be refreshing if lots of verbal representations are taken (Mr Mustard has deja vu and is going to be dreaming about such calls) but you must read carefully what is written to you. Mr Mustard regularly obtains an MOT for his car = he obtains one once per year.

Mr Mustard wonders how the disabled know about this number to phone given that it isn't printed on the PCN and he somehow doubts that the disabled person will be all over the website of Enfield Council.

Mr Mustard thinks the answer merits about 6 out of 10 given that the edict from London Councils is that the phone number should appear on PCNs. 


25 January 2022

Due adjustment: #9 Ealing Council


The response from Ealing Council is not a statement of the law and they split the two questions into three. The Regulations about PCNs, representations and Appeals are in this document

which contains, amongst other provisions, Regulation 4(3)

The joint committee is the Transport & Environment Committee of London Councils and they made a resolution back in 2013. Regardless of whether Ealing attended or not they are bound by the resolution made. As it happens, they were represented by Cllr Bassam Mahfouz who is still a councillor in Ealing.

That committee agreed on the following resolution:

It is clear as a bell that the law is that a council in London, such as Ealing Council, must agree to accept verbal representations from people who due to their disability are unable to write. The disabled do not have to rely on family, friends, carers or social workers (is fighting PCNs in their job description?), the law says the council must help them.

Ealing Council seem to find the law to be inconvenient; accepting limited verbal representations is a small price to pay compared to the vast number of PCNs they issue. They merrily penalise drivers for not following the law but hypocritically don't want it to apply to themselves. Why don't they, as public servants, want to help the disabled?


Due adjustment: #8 Croydon Council

A single point out of 10 for Croydon Council because they used to offer assistance but currently don't. You can't catch covid over the telephone so why the policy changed Mr Mustard cannot say.

Croydon Council can't abdicate their legal responsibilities although they have. So much for public service. If they are continuing to issue PCNs by the shedload, as they doubtless are, they have to have all legal mechanisms in place to deal with them, including offering due adjustment to the disabled who cannot write.

Mr Mustard beat a Croydon PCN the other day so knew there was nothing on the PCN to help the disabled. He looked at the website for completeness.

The law is not what Croydon Council say it is. That may be the quickest way for the council but use the method which is quickest or most convenient for you; Mr Mustard prefers email over an online web form.

Croydon also force you through their options, these are the ones for pavement parking, code 62.

Some of these possible reasons are traps for the unwary. To avoid obstructing the road will most likely see your challenge rejected as it isn't an exemption. I was loading is a possibility if you couldn't park anywhere else in order to load/unload and the vehicle was not left unattended. Breaking down or having nowhere to park aren't valid exemptions either, unless a traffic warden or policeman instructed you to park like that. As for the signs, the ban on pavement parking doesn't need to be signed!

Mr Mustard's advice is to ignore all of the reasons, click continue and then you get the real challenge system.

You can get straight to that page using this link

Croydon are sloppy with the word 'appeal' which has a special meaning, an Appeal is to the independent adjudicator after the council has turned down your informal challenge and formal representations (which can be the same or sometimes there is only the latter, for postal PCNs).


24 January 2022

Due adjustment: #7 City of London

The City of London get about 7 out of 10 as they aren't hiding from the public generally and give various methods for contacting them. They don't however specifically mention 'due adjustment' and talk about 'exceptional circumstances' which are not defined whereas being disabled and unable to write is crystal clear.

The City should not be trying to bump their responsibility to accept verbal representations onto another, very busy, body, Citizens Advice; is there even a branch in the square mile?

This is what is on the PCN, pretty good but could be improved by mentioning due adjustment and the option to phone and make representations.

The need isn't for an instant decision but for the representation to be recorded.

The website is also helpful, up to a point.

The minicom service is helpful for those with impaired hearing or who are fully deaf.

As ever, Mr Mustard spotted something else on the website to take issue with. Technically the right to make representations at the Charge Certificate stage has been lost (although it may be recovered at the next stage; witness statement or statutory demand) but there isn't a legal bar on the City of London considering representations out of time, the law says they 'may' disregard (i.e. ignore) them but the Secretary of State says they should be considered if there is a valid reason why they are late and strong grounds to dispute the PCN. The City are simply trying to put you off and push you to pay up when the Corporation doesn't even really need the money.


Due adjustment: #6 Camden Council


Following the above response from September Mr Mustard was going to write nice things about Camden Council but he has had to change his mind, although he is still in a good mood today.

Although the request was answered outside of the FOI system he still communicates with parking via FOI and very cordially too. The FOI officer cannot be faulted for his speed and friendliness of response. No criticism is made of him.

The switchboard telephone number to call is 020 7974 4444 (option 5). If you know of someone with a PCN who cannot write due to their disability please have them test this system out. If that doesn't work Mr Mustard will find them an expert to help out.

Mr Mustard followed up to see if the telephone number was going to be printed on PCNs as otherwise how would a disabled person know it? There then followed a quick and amusing (except for the adverse effect) exchange of emails.

Thus Camden get about 5 out of 10 for due adjustment.

Mr Mustard thought he should also have a look at the website to check if the due adjustment phone number was there and it wasn't, so how anyone was going to find the number is a mystery.

There are other items on this page which Mr Mustard find worthy of comment.

The website says 'you cannot challenge by phone'. Yes you can, London Councils who set the rules under statutory authority say the disabled who cannot write must be able to make representations by telephone.

Do not use the chatbot. Mr Mustard doubts that it ever tells you that you have a good case.

Internet Explorer is still supported by Microsoft until June of this year so shouldn't be excluded yet.

You can only use the Microsoft operating system to look at cctv, a bit awkward if you only have Apple products.

There are circumstances in which you should be allowed to recover your car from the pound without paying. A single woman robbed of her handbag late of an evening (luckily she had the car key in her pocket but nothing else) should be allowed to recover her car (with a promise to pay later) so that she can get home safely. Mr Mustard is sure he has seen such a policy somewhere but can't put his hand on it right now. Somebody who reads this and knows will doubtless add the information in the comment box.


23 January 2022

Continuous contravention - Croydon Council

Looking back Mr Mustard sees that he has written about continuous contraventions, ones that subsist for a number of days, and has mentioned Bromley & North Essex Parking Partnership in November 21, Merton in August 21, Edinburgh in July 21 and Brent in June 21. He also has copies of tribunal decisions against Hillingdon, Haringey, Barnet and Lambeth. Mr Mustard is currently fighting a PCN in Wandsworth on the basis that the council can't have 3 PCNs for a double yellow line contravention (the driver was ill) over 4 days, the first PCN having been paid at 50% and the second one supposedly cancelled by the council but still shows as due on line.

One would think by now that the rule of law had got through the skull of the slowest parking employee but no, here we go again, Croydon this time. Two wheels were on the edge of the pavement, where they didn't even need to be and the lesson has been learnt.

Mr Mustard suggested the wording of formal representations which was that there was indeed a contravention, the first PCN had been paid and the second and third should be cancelled.

The PCNs had been issued as follows:

day 1 at noon

day 2 at 11am

day 4 at 11am

Croydon cancelled the day 2 PCN as being issued less than 24 hours since the first PCN but wanted the day 4 PCN paid. Off Mr Mustard went to the tribunal on the grounds of continuous contravention. Once he had the evidence pack he produced, as usual, a skeleton argument which boils the whole case down to the main points the adjudicator needs to consider, which in this case was only the one. Filing skeleton arguments helps the tribunal to run more efficiently.

If the adjudicator's daily diary permits they read the papers before Mr Mustard gets into the hearing room and that happened in this case such that the Adjudicator on reaching this case simply said it was allowed. A brief decision was all that was required.

So we must ask ourselves, Mr Mustard knew the law and the adjudicator knew the law. Why didn't Croydon Council? Would it be because most people don't know the law so they can get away with daylight robbery most of the time?


22 January 2022

Haringey Council miss a trick

Mr Mustard had a 'lost my PCN' enquiry from a lady he has helped a few times and this is how the exchange went:

You just can't phone parking departments these days, they all hide and don't give out phone numbers or email addresses. The 'best' you will get is a webform which Mr Mustard regards as a straitjacket and you don't know when you might get a reply to an enquiry which could be dealt with in one minute on the phone.

Mr Mustard looked at Haringey's website and found this advice:

Mr Mustard understands that prior to the Notice to Owner the council don't know who the registered keeper is so can't talk about a PCN which contains their data. There is however a simple solution, let the registered keeper send in a copy of the V5 DVLA registration document and then the council know that they can discuss a PCN issued to that vehicle. So simple, why haven't Haringey Council thought of it?

In the current situation, the registered keeper could also make a Subject Access Request which should be replied to within one month.

There is no guarantee that if you wait and explain as suggested that the 50% discount will be offered once again.


Due adjustment: #3 - Bexley Council & #5 Bromley

Bexley Council sent Mr Mustard quite a long reply to his two short questions which, as is often the case with longer answers, is less clear than a short one. The response applied equally to Bromley Council.

Firstly, Mr Mustard notices, the councils try to palm you off to other places or people to do their job for them. The London Councils committee was very clear, that all councils in London must themselves accept verbal representations from those disabled people who cannot write.

Secondly, there is a call you back system which is OK but after that it gets overly bureaucratic. The council will tape the conversation and send it to the (disabled) member of the public for verification. Mr Mustard hopes this isn't by using the internet; sending a cd-rom isn't much better, assuming the recipient has the equipment on which to play it. Mr Mustard doesn't understand why the council aren't sending a typed transcript as a tape recording of conversation will be accurate, it won't need 'verification'.

Thirdly, only now when he is reviewing the response does Mr Mustard notice that the question about the telephone number appearing on a PCN hasn't been answered. As it happens Mr Mustard had recently beaten a PCN issued by Bexley in July 21 so he can say what is on the PCN to assist the recipient, in this case a blue badge holder, who may well have difficulties in writing.

Is there a telephone number that a disabled person can telephone to make a verbal representation? No.

Is there one on the Notice to Owner? No.

Is it on Bexley's website? No again.

Please would a person who cannot write please test Bexley's willingness to accept verbal challenges by phoning 020 3045 3000 and asking to make one and then report back in the comment box. If, afterwards, you need a representative because Bexley don't help you Mr Mustard will put you in touch with one.


Due adjustment: #2 - Barnet Council

As he has a filing cabinet full of PCNs Mr Mustard didn't need to ask Barnet Council anything in order to know what arrangements they have to assist the disabled, in particular people who cannot for whatever reason write challenges to PCNs.

The telephone number to phone in order to make a verbal representation, as your disability prevents you from writing it, is 0161 913 2523

How did Mr Mustard find this out? He looked at an October 2021 PCN issued on street.

It did not contain any information to assist the disabled.

He looked at a Notice to Owner which contained this sentence on the second page.

He went to the suggested web page and found this after pressing 'page down' three times.

The disabled are not informed of their rights until after the discount period has expired. This is clearly unfair.

A person who cannot write is assumed to have access to, and be able to use, the internet. This is also unfair.

Why not just print this on page one of the PCN and the Notice to Owner.

Mr Mustard will have to lodge a freedom of information request to find out how many people have availed themselves of the reasonable adjustment. Any bets that the answer will be zero?

This ability is something that Mr Mustard would like to see people (who cannot write) try out. If you hit problems, please message Mr Mustard and he will find you a representative who will assist you with the PCN and also make a complaint.


20 January 2022

Redbridge Council - Checkmate leads to cheque mate!


It is the law that costs in PCN Appeals are rarely awarded. A party has to be frivolous, vexatious or wholly unreasonable.  Mr Mustard hit the bar on an application he made, Barnet Council were found to be unreasonable but not wholly so. Not a great accolade though, merely unreasonable.

A friend is getting all of the 2021 costs case for his own learning and sharing them with Mr Mustard. Redbridge only suffered the one award due to their failure to properly consider the representations, a legal requirement.

The tribunal decision was a model of brevity and contained all that was required, the case number is 2200516219.

Mr Attalia applied for costs and that is reasonable given how his time had been wasted and given that 99% of motorists would have assumed the council knew what it was doing and paid up, which is the point of most rejections, councils might as well just write 'show us the money'. Luckily there are enough motorists who stand up and are counted to stop the PCN system becoming an even more unbalanced system. Costs were allowed but are a fleabite to the council who were themselves trying to obtain £130 by false pretences.

The end.

17 January 2022

Due adjustment - #1 Barking & Dagenham

Regular readers will recall that Mr Mustard recently set the scene for a series of blogs about enforcement authorities in London and the due adjustments they should make for a disabled person who cannot write - put simply, the local authority should accept representations on the telephone.

The first response in alphabetical order, from Barking and Dagenham, was very disappointing.

Mr Mustard really didn't understand that, a council is by very definition a public service and must therefore be 'customer facing' (recipients of PCNs don't really relish being called customers though).

The legislation for parking PCNs says this about the form of representations:

and the joint committee, said this in March 2013, so not new:

which proposal was duly accepted:

Therefore the council's reply is utter twaddle, misleading, unkind to the disabled and in breach of the law.

As it happens the Chief Executive of the council, back in October when Mr Mustard started his research, was Chris Naylor who used to be the second in command at Barnet Council and Mr Mustard had met him. Mr Mustard asked Chris for his help as he rather hoped that such behaviour would bother him.

It was only last week that Mr Mustard started thinking about writing this blog post and recalled he had not had a reply. By then it was public knowledge that Chris was leaving the council for a post in the private sector. However, on the council website he was still shown as the Chief Executive. A follow up email was replied to by an out-of-office email that he had left and the interim Chief Executive was Claire Symonds. When Chris was at Barnet so was Claire and Mr Mustard had met her. So Mr Mustard duly emailed Claire.

Mr Mustard didn't get what he asked for but did instead get a review of the Freedom of Information request, which didn't need reviewing, it accurately set out how they don't care for the disabled at Barking & Dagenham Council. Here is the review:

Mr Mustard didn't ask if there was direct dial access to the parking team, only if there was a telephone number for the council that a disabled person could ring in order to make representations. It is merely a case of typing what the person says and in this day and age the task could probably be completed by a speech-to-text system backed up by a person listening afterwards to the saved audio file in case of query. The system could prompt for information such as the PCN ref, car registration, name, address and phone number of the caller and then ask them why they want to challenge the PCN.

Mr Mustard went to the contact us page and it isn't explicit but he presumes the disabled are meant to phone 020 8215 3000

Mr Mustard did click through to the Parking page and then to the PCN page and then again to the Challenge a PCN page. There was a Help with your PCN page, it is no help to the disabled.

The telephone number is not printed on PCNs. It should be as otherwise how are the disabled, if they can't use the internet, going to find the number? this is setting them up to fail and gives them another hurdle to jump in a fixed time or they get timed out of the process and the penalty can then increase by 50%. Isn't the life of the disabled hard enough without Barking & Dagenham Council making it even harder?

What assistance is there for the disabled printed on a PCN? The FOI review said this:

Mr Mustard didn't have a copy of a PCN so he has sent to Barking & Dagenham council for a copy. Then he came across one from October, here it is

There is absolutely nothing on it to tell the disabled how to obtain help. Mr Mustard has been lied to, not for the first time.

It isn't the role of the Citizens Advice Bureau to make up for the failure of the council to do what it is legally required to do. That is an attempt by the council to avoid having to accept a telephonic representation, the hope that the CAB will write to or use the online form instead. The CAB have enough to do with sorting out complex problems, not undertaking routine challenges.

Mr Mustard took himself to the One Stop Shop page. It says it is for 'assisted self-service' which is not what the disabled need, they need a full service, the ability to explain to a person what the challenge is and have it written down for them.

Mr Mustard checked the council's webpage about libraries, there is no mention of help for the disabled.

To summarise the situation at Barking & Dagenham Council.

They are despicably obstructive to the disabled and failing in their legal duty.

It would be useful if you are the helper for a disabled person who cannot write to test out the system the council says is in place to assist them. Will it work? Mr Mustard doubts it. Please try it out and if the helper could let Mr Mustard know what happens he can then contact the Chief Executive again.

The end, for now.