Parking ticket on windshield of car left by a traffic warden working in lockdown
(Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

During the very first lockdown, traffic wardens weren't working as all but essential workers were told to stay at home and - unsurprisingly - traffic wardens were not seen as essential compared to doctors, nurses or teachers. 

This time around though, for the lockdown 3.0 in January 2021, things are different. Many of the rules have changed. Travel rules have been made stricter, but lockdown exercise rules are more lenient. School closures and homeschooling are back again, but this time nurseries have been allowed to stay open. So it's no surprise that the rules around parking have changed and whether traffic wardens can work during the lockdown.

This is what the rules are around traffic wardens working over the next couple of months are now. Read on so you don't get caught out...

Are traffic wardens working in lockdown?

Traffic wardens are working during lockdown. So, if you park illegally or don't pay for parking, you could get a ticket and a fine.

"Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) [traffic wardens] remain essential in ensuring the safe management of our streets and can continue to work during the current restrictions as their duties cannot be performed from home," guidance from the British Parking Association (BPA), the Local Government Association (LGA) and London Councils, says.

However, traffic wardens have been told to handle parking violations a little differently than they normally would. This involves trying other measures first before giving out a fine. The reason for this is to help prevent aggravation and adhere to social distancing measures.

The guidance on traffic wardens working during lockdown says, "CEOs should continue to focus on providing help and advice about where people can and cannot park, encouraging the drivers of poorly parked vehicles to move where possible rather than issuing Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).

"It is likely that, with the need to adhere to social distancing and threats of abuse, there may be increased incidents of CEOs not being able to successfully serve the PCN in situations where this remains appropriate."

Traffic warden issuing parking ticket

Credit: Getty

They also say that the presence of traffic wardens will differ from one local authority to another. It depends on the levels of traffic.

"Unlike the first lockdown in March 2020 a significant amount of activity is continuing and traffic management needs to reflect this.

"Authorities will need to enforce restrictions according to local conditions. Perhaps focussing less on areas where pressures on the supply of parking are reduced.

"No two authorities or even town centres are identical, so action will be dependent on local circumstances and it is entirely for each authority to decide what is best for them."

Do you have to pay for parking in lockdown?

Yes, parking charges will still apply during lockdown in 2021. The same guidance says, "On and off-street charging strategies will continue to play an important part in managing the supply and demand for parking, especially in areas where pressure is increased. "

But authorities control their own approach to parking charges so in some parts of England, charges could be reduced or removed if it's deemed necessary. Just make sure you double check if you need to pay for parking before leaving your car unattended.

Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a health and wellbeing writer, working across the subjects of family, relationships, and LGBT topics, as well as sleep and mental health. A digital journalist with over six years  experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace is currently Health Editor for and has also worked with Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more. After graduating from the University of Warwick, she started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness.