Fixed Penalty Notices Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Fixed Penalty Notice?
A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is a fine issued by the Council in respect of low-level environmental or public health crime. If an authorised officer of the Council believes that you have committed an offence then it may decide to offer you a FPN.
A FPN is a fine that can be issued to an individual or business for a range of environmental or public health offences as an alternative to prosecution at court. Offences include:
- smoking in a prohibited area
- abandoning a vehicle
- failure to clear up after a dog fouled.
Who issues FPNs?
FPNs can only be issued by Council officers that have been specifically authorised to do so. All duly authorised officers of the Council are trained on the powers contained within relevant legislation and how to issue FPNs responsibly. Authorised officers of the Council will always be able to provide identification and will not, under any circumstances, request or accept payment of a FPN ‘on the spot’.
Why was I not offered a FPN?
FPN will not be offered:
- to a repeat offender; or
- the offence is not a low-level crime and prosecution is the appropriate option; or
- the authorised officer of the Council decides that this option is not appropriate due to the circumstances at the time.
For more information on how enforcement decisions are made please see the Council’s Enforcement Policy and the Housing and Environmental Health Statement of Enforcement Policy and Practice.
What happens if I fail to pay the FPN?
You are very likely to receive a summons to attend a magistrates court hearing.
What happens when a FPN is paid?
Payment of a FPN means that no further action will be taken for that particular offence.
What happens if I wish to challenge the issue of a FPN?
Authorised officers of the Council will only issue a FPN where they consider that there is adequate evidence of an offence that will support a prosecution in court. However, if you believe that you did not commit the offence in question or that the issue of the FPN was incorrect, you can challenge the Council in two ways:
- Request a review of the case by contacting the Head of Housing and Environmental Health Service, in writing at North Hertfordshire District Council, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth, SG6 3JF, within 14 days of the issue of the FPN or
- Opt not to pay the FPN and attend court, if summonsed, to present your case.
Should the case proceed to court the Council will, in addition to any fine imposed, seek to recover its costs associated with the prosecution. The Council retains the right to review any FPN issued before prosecuting. However, in most cases the Council will proceed to prosecute for non-payment of FPNs.
What happens to the FPN payments?
Monies received from FPNs will be re-invested by the Council to help fight environmental crime and to maintain a cleaner, safer environment within the District.
How do I make the payment?
Payment may be made as follows:
- By credit or debit card by telephone
on 01462 474000 to Licensing & Enforcement (during normal working hours), with your card details and quoting the FPN Ref. No. Payment will be accepted with the following credit and debit cards - Visa, Mastercard, Switch, Solo and Visa Delta.
- Make a payment online
using the ‘pay for it’ page.
- In person
at the Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth, SG6 3JF during normal working hours between 9am and 5pm.
- By post, ensuring that you complete the slip on the FPN and return it with payment to Licensing & Enforcement, North Hertfordshire District Council, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth, SG6 3JF. Payment made in this way will be regarded as having been made at the time at which the letter would be delivered in the ordinary post.
- Method of payment in person or by post
Please do not send cash. Payment may be made by credit/debit card, by cheque or postal order made payable to North Hertfordshire District Council. Please complete the slip on the FPN and either post it with your payment or bring it in when you pay in person. Information on how to pay is also provided on the FPN.