Kelvin Reynolds, BPA Director of Corporate Affairs says there is a difference between ‘grace’ periods and ‘observation’ periods in parking and that good practice allows for this.

“An observation period is the time when an enforcement officer should be able to determine what the motorist intends to do once in the car park.  Our guidance specifically says that there must be sufficient time for the motorist to park their car, observe the signs, decide whether they want to comply with the operator’s conditions and either drive away or pay for a ticket,” he explains.

“No time limit is specified.  This is because it might take one person five minutes, but another person 10 minutes depending on various factors, not limited to disability.”

The BPA’s guidance defines the ‘grace period’ as the time allowed after permitted or paid-for parking has expired but before any kind of enforcement takes place.

Kelvin continues: “In the instance of a PCN being issued while a ticket is being purchased, the operator has clearly not given the motorist sufficient time to read the signs and comply as per the operator’s own rules.  If a motorist decides they do not want to comply and leaves the car park, then a reasonable period of time should be provided also.”