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Fixed penalty notices
Environmental and community protection offences
A fixed penalty notice (FPN), or to give it its full proper title, a notice of opportunity to pay a fixed penalty, can be issued by local authority officers, police officers and police community support officers for certain offences.
FPNs provide a quick, visible and effective way of dealing with low-level environmental and community protection offences, and provide an opportunity for a person to avoid prosecution. They are therefore suitable for first-time offenders, minor offences and ‘one-off’ incidents.
FPNs were introduced in the 1950s and their use has extended from traffic matters to things like litter, noise, truancy, drunkenness and antisocial behaviour. FPNs are not the same as Council-issued parking penalties, nor are they a fine - a fine for a criminal matter is something that follows a conviction in a court. The Council has been using FPNs for offences that can be suitably dealt with out-of-court since 2000.
Our fixed penalty notices are used for offences like:
failing to clean up after a dog has fouled public land
minor ‘fly-posting’ – displaying adverts without consent
noise exceeding the permitted night-time level
distributing free printed matter without consent
minor unauthorised deposits of waste (‘fly-tipping’)
failing to ensure transfer of household waste is only to an authorised person
smoking in a smoke-free place
not being able to produce waste duty of care paperwork or a registration to transport waste
breach of a public spaces protection order, such as failing to hand over alcohol to a police officer
Some FPNs are issued by police and are called penalty notices for disorder or PNDs. These can be used for offences like:
being drunk and disorderly
trespassing on a railway
These are not administered by the Council. To pay a PND, contact the relevant police force, court office or see the link above.
The use and effect of fixed penalty notices
Payment of the fixed penalty by the recipient discharges their liability to conviction for the alleged offence. The payment does not constitute an admission of guilt, but removes the possibility of the creation of a record of criminal conviction. A fine (or other sentence) is imposed by a court if the option to pay a fixed penalty is not taken, and the accused is then convicted in a criminal court.
A FPN would only be issued where an officer has reason to believe a person has committed a penalty offence and there is sufficient evidence to support a successful prosecution. This may be for an offence directly witnessed by the officer, or where the officer has reliable witness testimony from another person.
Fixed penalties are payable within 14 days from the date of issue on the notice (or 30 days if it is issued under the Health Act 2006). This 14 day (or 30 day) period is called the 'suspended enforcement period'. If the penalty is not paid during this period, the matter is transferred to the HM Courts & Tribunals Service and a court summons or written charge would be sent in the post. The evidence to prove the offence will be posted along with the summons or written charge.
The use of FPNs for environmental offences follows the guidance issued by HM Government. We also issue local guidance on the use of FPNs, which is consistent with these national guidelines.
Fixed penalty receipts have to be spent on the qualifying functions defined in law.
Each FPN has a unique notice reference number. You must use it when paying the fixed penalty and in any communication with us.
Challenging the issuing of a fixed penalty notice
These FPNs are issued for criminal matters. The effect of the FPN is to delay the matter going to a criminal court with an invitation for the person issued with it to cancel their liability to prosecution. This is done by paying a fixed penalty within the suspended enforcement period.
In issuing the FPN, the officer has decided the matter is suitable for diversion from the courts. There is no legal mechanism by which someone can appeal the officer’s decision to provide an option to avoid court.
There is no obligation to pay the fixed penalty. However, where payment is not made, the case passes to the courts.
If you believe a FPN was issued incorrectly and choose not to pay it, the matter becomes a formal prosecution. It will then be up to the courts to determine whether or not an offence was committed. If the court decides there was an offence, it will decide the appropriate penalty. The criminal justice system provides an appeal route, against conviction or sentence, to a higher court.
Your right to 'appeal' against the allegation contained in a FPN is in a court.
If you have received a fixed penalty notice you may:
pay the fixed penalty within the suspended enforcement period (normally 14 days)
deny liability for the offence and request a court hearing, or
admit liability for the offence, but request a court hearing to make submissions for the court to consider.
In the event of non-payment, your case transfers to the courts automatically. Alternatively you may write to the City Council (at the address on the reverse of the FPN) within the suspended enforcement period and ask for the courts to deal with your case. You always have the right to challenge an allegation of a criminal offence in a court. In court, if you are convicted, you would be liable to pay prosecution costs and a court surcharge, in addition to any fine or other sentence.
If you are the keeper of a vehicle and have been sent a penalty notice under the Littering From Vehicles Outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018, our page on littering from vehicles provides more information.
There are no discounts for early payment.
If you have received a summons or written charge, the information accompanying it will explain your options and what you need to do. You may wish to seek independent legal advice.
Pay a fixed penalty
On the payment page, please enter the Prefix FP, N or F and the unique reference number. This is displayed on the FPN (at the top of the FPN if it is a printed one or at the bottom right if the FPN is handwritten). If you cannot find your reference number or have any other questions, please contact 0191 278 7878 and ask for 'fixed penalty notice'.
Part payment will not be accepted.
Do not use this link to pay for a parking or bus lane offence or a penalty related to school non-attendance.
To pay for a parking penalty charge notice (parking ticket or PCN) go to our page for paying parking PCNs, for bus lane contraventions go to our bus lane enforcement page and for school non-attendance see here to make payment.
If you have a penalty notice under the Littering from Vehicles Outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018, see our page on littering from vehicles. If the civil penalty number starts with a N, you can pay it using the link above.
Other ways to pay
with a credit or debit card by telephone. Telephone 0191 278 7878, and ask for 'fixed penalty notice'
in person, by cash or credit/debit card, at a Post Office or outlet displaying the PayPoint sign, using the barcode on the FPN, or
by posting a cheque or postal order, made payable to ‘Newcastle City Council’, to the following address:
Infringement & Fixed Penalty Processing
Newcastle City Council
P.O. Box 2BL
Newcastle upon Tyne
If paying by post, please write your name and the FPN number on the reverse of the cheque or postal order.
The 'pink' copy of the FPN or the tear-off slip from a printed FPN should accompany your cheque or postal order.
The Post Office or the PayPoint operator will need to see the FPN in order to scan the bar code.
If you have received a summons to attend court or a single justice procedure notice (with written charge), and you wish to pay the fixed penalty late, follow the instructions enclosed with the summons or notice. Do not pay online or at a Post Office or PayPoint as your payment may not prevent the court from dealing with the matter.
Lost fixed penalty notices
If you have lost your notice and do not have the reference number to use to make payment, please telephone our Infringement and Fixed Penalty Processing office: 0191 277 7639.
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Need more information?
Sometimes people have questions about a fixed penalty notice and about why it was issued. Answers to some frequently asked questions can be found here.
Find your fixed penalty notice number:
To pay a penalty charge for a parking or bus lane contravention:
To pay a fixed penalty for school non-attendance:
If your case has gone to court and you have now received a 'notice of fine' from HMCTS:
Pages in this area
- Air pollution
- Contaminated land
- Dog warden service
Fixed penalty notices
Pages in this area
- Health Act 2006 - Smoke-free places
- Pollution control, inspection and permitting
- Private sector housing enforcement
- Radioactive substances
- Sky lanterns and helium balloons
- Statutory nuisance
- Waste management - duty of care
- Water quality and pollution